Parler is asking a US District Court for the Western District of Washington to issue a temporary restraining order as part of its case against Amazon Web Services (AWS), and is refuting media reports that claim they have evidence that its users were present inside the US Capitol building on January 6.
The alternative social networking app got swept away in a tsunami of censorship hitting the US after last week’s unrest in Washington, when Google and Apple pulled it from its stores, while Amazon banned its entire platform from AWS citing a violation of terms of service.
In the lawsuit, Parler alleges that Amazon was in breach of contract, while also violating antitrust rules and undermining the free speech social network’s business to the point that a temporary restraining order was needed to keep it online.
Now a court filing of Parler CEO and founder John Matze’s declaration addresses media reports claiming that metadata evidence proves some Parler users were inside the US Capitol building during the January 6 rioting.
“I am aware that there has been some discussion in the news media of metadata evidence supposedly proving that Parler users were at or in the Capital Building (sic) during the recent riot. However, the evidence presented by the media does not actually show this. Instead, it shows the location where videos were taken that were later uploaded to Parler. But it does not show that videos were taken by a Parler user.
Thus, for example, if a person recorded a video at the Capitol and then shared it with someone who decided to upload it, a Parler account who was nowhere near the Capitol could then upload the video to Parler. But the underlying geocaching data of the video would still show the original location where it was recorded.
Thus, the fact that a Parler account had uploaded a video taken at the Capitol in no way shows that the Parler user was present there, rather it was plausible they were reporting the news.”
The reference appears to concern reports like that published by Gizmodo, that says “at least several” Parler users were in the building’s restricted area, and that this is shown by GPS metadata linked to videos that appeared on the social platform.
However, in his filing, Matze claims that the data in question shows where the videos were taken, to later be uploaded to Parler to showcase and report on – rather than in any way suggest that the person who took the video is a Parler user who was present at the site.
Matze’s argument is that a video taken anywhere will still have geocaching data attached to it, that will identify the original location where it was taken. This means that the same video – if later uploaded by a Parler user – was not necessarily taken by them at the location of the event, but may have been shared as an act of reporting the news and sharing footage of the event.
He adds that he is not aware that any of the persons reported by the news media as arrested in connection to the Capitol Hill unrest were Parler users at the time of the attack.