Parler, the alternative social-media platform favored by many far-right users for its lax approach to moderating content, appeared to experience an outage Friday evening.
Dozens of users of the platform tweeted that they were unable to access Parler’s website and app.
Parler did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
Reports of Parler’s outage coincided with reports that Apple threatened to ban Parler from its App Store amid complaints it was used to “plan, coordinate, and facilitate” the insurrection by violent Trump loyalists on Wednesday in Washington, DC.
But Apple said it had given Parler 24 hours to address App Store policy violations, so it’s unlikely that the outage was connected to Apple’s warning.
The outage reports also came amid Twitter’s decision to ban Trump from the platform permanently “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
Users of Gab, another social-media platform that has exploded as mainstream sites have cracked down on misinformation, hate speech, and the glorification of violence, also reported it was experiencing issues.
Sites like Parler and Gab have risen to prominence in recent months as mainstream social-media sites have faced increasing pressure to crack down on hate speech, misinformation, and calls for violence.
After the US presidential election in November, Trump supporters flocked to alternative social networks, including Parler, to plan election protests after Facebook and other sites banned groups that pushed debunked conspiracy theories. From November 3 to 9, Parler was downloaded about 530,000 times in the US, according to data from Apptopia.
As a pro-Trump mob violently seized the US Capitol on Wednesday in an attack that left five dead, the armed rioters used Parler and other conservative-leaning social-media apps to organize. Apptopia told Business Insider that Parler downloads spiked to about 323% of their average weekly volume from October.
“Hold your ground!!! Keep the ground you have gained. Do not relinquish what we have,” wrote one Parler user, who went by the handle “Immortal Noble Beard” and identified himself as a Proud Boy.
Many chimed in with posts tagged #revolution, #fightback, #firingsquad, and #civilwar. Others spread rumors that antifa was behind the mob.
“Content of this dangerous and harmful nature is not appropriate for the App Store. As you know from prior conversations with App Review, Apple requires apps with user generated content to effectively moderate to ensure objectionable, potentially harmful content is filtered out,” Apple told Parler, according to BuzzFeed News, adding: “Content that threatens the well being of others or is intended to incite violence or other lawless acts has never been acceptable on the App Store.”