Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee, put in the formal request to the FBI on Tuesday, asking for an investigation of the role Parler played in organizing an assault where members of Congress were hunted through the halls of the Capitol. When Amazon kicked the service off its cloud servers earlier in the month, it did so after saying Parler failed to take down messages “inciting and planning the rape, torture, and assassination of named public officials and private citizens.” In other words: good, conservative speech.
As The Washington Post reports, this request is expected to be followed by an investigation in the House that will include both Parler and other sites where those plotting violence have congregated. “I am going to get to the bottom of who owns and funds social media platforms like Parler that condone and create violence,” said Maloney.
Actually, that question can be answered without an investigation. Parler was funded by Republican megadonor Rebekah Mercer. Mercer earned her money the old fashioned way—by inheriting her billions and her love of the far right from her Breitbart-funding father, Robert Mercer. If doing their share to create platforms for destroying both journalism and social media sounds like a thin resume, the Mercers were the money behind Steve Bannon’s Cambridge Analytica. They also channeled $25 million into Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and funded Bannon’s vanity film, Clinton Cash. Robert put up much of the money for the Brexit campaign, and is a big supporter of Nigel Farage. Meanwhile, Rebekah is on the boards for both the Heritage Foundation and the Goldwater Institute.
The Mercers are the real core of the GOP—the ones that put up the big bucks. The ones that are supporting every step toward a more radical, more violent, more anti-American right.
Maloney’s letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray Thursday points out that in its limited comeback, Parler is now hosted by a Russian-owned web services company. That company, DDos-Guard, also had Russian government clients … or maybe that should be other Russian government clients. Parler has previously refused to remove accounts that were demonstrated to be created by Russian agents.
Parler, like other social media sites, has a high degree of immunity to prosecution over its content because of the supports given in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. However, that immunity is not absolute.