A Very Disturbing Look Deep Inside the Parler App

Mish

Parler is a free-wheeling anything goes, say what you want social media platform similar to Twitter. A Parler data download shows very disturbing, even scary trends.

Deep Dive Into Parler Data

Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and other companies have shut down support for Parler, making it internet dead.

However, a number of people downloaded all the data right before it was shut down. That data is both fascinating and deeply disturbing.

January 6 Was Predictable 

An "anonymous data scientist" who downloaded the data says We could have predicted the events of January 6th from Parler’s data.

I ran a crawler to collect posts and comments on the Parler social network for months before Amazon shut them down. Parler was a poorly-engineered app that hosted a wide range of hate speech, conspiracy theories, threats of violence, and disinformation.  

Users could only search posts on Parler (called “Parleys”) by hashtags, not by the text content within the post itself. This led users to liberally apply hashtags within any Parley that they wished to disseminate widely, unknowingly providing valuable metadata to researchers like myself. 

For example, here is a random Parley from January 6th in Washington D.C.

#trump had to allow #mikepence to sign his own death warrant…..
#TraitorPence #GITMO #firingsquad

#ALLorNOTHING #2theEND #wildDC #magarally #wildprotest
#saveamericarally #trumprally #dc #ArrestPence #traitorVP

#JAN6 the new #911….. #makethempay #retribution

Hanging Politicians Goes Viral

The notion of murdering politicians was widely discussed on Parler for months before the 2020 US election, and these posts were never moderated. The relative frequency of hashtags involving hanging/execution more than doubles after the 2020 US election (blue vertical line above), more than triples on the day of the Electoral College vote (green line), and is an order of magnitude higher on the day of the Capitol riot (red line).

It is clear that Parler allowed the idea of attacking and hanging politicians to spread virally on the platform, either through gross negligence or willing ignorance. This idea manifested itself in the gallows erected outside the US Capitol on January 6th. The gallows are a reference to the white supremacist literature The Turner Diaries, in which a “Day of the Rope” features politicians hung en masse.

Day of Rope

Day of Rope

Parler Hastag Analysis

Parler Hashtag Analysis

Parler Word Cloud 

Parler Word Cloud

Civil War

In a word cloud, the bigger the words, the higher the frequency. 

In the days right before January 6, "civil war" was the big buzzphrase.

The QAnon conspiracy

There are a substantial number of Americans (at least 100,000 on Parler and two sitting US congresswomen) who believe there is a vast global conspiracy by a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles to consolidate power, and that Donald Trump is secretly trying to bring them down. One distinct feature of the QAnon conspiracy is how new layers of rationalization are continuously added through widely disseminated videos — unlike the moon landing conspiracies, QAnon’s purported conspiracy is ongoing, and continuously adapting to current events.

Ashli Babbitt QAnon

Ashli Babbitt, the woman shot and killed inside the capitol was a QAnon follower.

For further discussion, please see my post The Sorry Saga of Ashli Babbitt Shot in the Capitol

QAnon Targets George Soros

QAnon Targets George Soros

The term "echo" is similar to a Twitter Retweet (posting the same message to those who follow you).

Anonymous Data Scientist Concludes

You can contact me about this post and to request access to the dataset by messaging me on Twitter. I will be keeping my identity concealed for obvious reasons — there is panic among the ex-Parler community that all their data, even private/deleted posts, have been scraped and archived — it has, just not by me. Furthermore, Parler did not follow industry standards in obfuscating EXIF metadata from uploaded images, so millions of users had their exact location logged.

Exact Locations Logged

Gizmodo Analysis

Parler GPS

Gizmodo reports Parler Users Breached Deep Inside U.S. Capitol Building, GPS Data Shows

At least several users of the far-right social network Parler appear to be among the horde of rioters that managed to penetrate deep inside the U.S. Capitol building and into areas normally restricted to the public, according to GPS metadata linked to videos posted to the platform the day of the insurrection in Washington.  

The data, obtained by a computer hacker through legal means ahead of Parler’s shutdown on Monday, offers a bird’s eye view of its users swarming the Capitol grounds after receiving encouragement from President Trump — and during a violent breach that sent lawmakers and Capitol Hill visitors scrambling amid gunshots and calls for their death. GPS coordinates taken from 618 Parler videos analyzed by Gizmodo has already been sought after by FBI as part of a sweeping nationwide search for potential suspects, at least 20 of whom are already in custody.

Gizmodo has mapped nearly 70,000 geo-located Parler posts and on Tuesday isolated hundreds published on January 6 near the Capitol where a mob of pro-Trump supporters had hoped to overturn a democratic election and keep their president in power. The data shows Parler users posting all throughout the day, documenting their march from the National Mall to Capitol Hill where the violent insurrection ensued.

Gizmodo Graphic

Gizmodo Graphic

The red dot just south of the Capitol Rotunda’s center on the map above is linked to a video Gizmodo verified that shows rioters in red MAGA hats shouting obscenities about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose office is a short walk to the west. But other dots nearby could indicate videos captured in adjacent offices, stairwells, or hallways leading toward the House and Senate chambers. A second video successfully linked to the Parler data belongs to a rioter who filmed a mob in the Rotunda chanting, “Whose House? Our House?” (while facing the Senate side of the building).

The Parler data was first obtained by a hacker identified by her Twitter handle, @donk_enby, as reported by Gizmodo on Monday.

In an interview Monday, @donk_enby said she began to archive posts from Parler the day of the siege, documenting what she described as “very incriminating” evidence linked to a mob of Parler users on the Hill. When it later became clear that Amazon intended to expel the app from its servers, she expanded her efforts to vacuum up the entirety of its content.

According to @donk_enby, more than 99% of all Parler posts, including millions of videos bearing the locations of users, were saved. Unlike most of its competitors, Parler apparently had no mechanism in place to strip sensitive metadata from its users’ videos prior to posting them online.

Metadata

Wow, Just Wow

The data by donk_enby and the "anonymous data scientist" provide a stunning look into what was actually going down. 

Looking for true patriots? You have a couple of them right there.

The mob wanted Pelosi and they got to within a door. 

A number of these people should be tried for sedition if not treason. The FBI has at least 160 open cases and I expect hundreds more as they comb through these data files.

Mish

Comments (170)
No. 1-44
Rocky Raccoon
Rocky Raccoon

"Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner. The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!" Donald Trump, Twitter September 2017

Rocky Raccoon
Rocky Raccoon

These Parler QAnon idiots clearly don't know Donald Trump. Their views of Donald Trump being this deep state warrior forgets the fact that Trump was dependent on George Soros's money to build things like the Chicago Trump Tower, which Soros was a major investor. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2004-10-28-0410280265-story.html

They ignore Trump has successfully pushed more gun control than the last idiot which includes the bump stock ban and FIX NICS, with most recently the Trump administration banning the honey badger. They ignore Trump pushed for federal gun confiscation laws. Their entire view of Trump is based on a lie.

Rocky Raccoon
Rocky Raccoon

Fascinating article Mish! So when do these QAnon types start selling the idea Parler was a deep state tool to track them?

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

People who defend these platforms claiming freedom of speech need to have their heads examined.

And the only reason the bad guys were on Parler is because Twitter was forced to begin to clean up their act. I’m not active on any social media platform. I consider them all a pox on the land.

There isn’t anything fundamentally different between these platforms.....just a matter of how much hate they were willing to tolerate....and the business model favors more, not less.

And Twitter was quite willing to tolerate a lot.....for a long time....I can remember it wasn’t that long ago that the shift started to Parler. Parler owes whatever financial success they’ve had to the (until very recently) very modest attempts by Twitter and FB to reign in the worst of the angry mob behavior against Democrats and people perceived as “the left”....

Social media is not very well understood...it should be understood as a virtual incubator for the madness of crowds.....where people can try to outdo each other with calls for violence and mayhem.

“In reading The History of Nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities, their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

PecuniaNonOlet
PecuniaNonOlet

Mish, thanks for posting. I reaffirm that “big tech” did the right thing in banning Parler from their services. Even if Amazon has to payout a few million, it was the right business and moral decision not to enable hate/violence speech. We cant have a repeat of nazi germany.

Mishmash1
Mishmash1

And Big Tech thought it was OK for Kathy Griffin to post a picture of herself holding Trump severed head on Instagram. You can't have it both ways.

FromBrussels
FromBrussels

Mish, with all respect, don't you think you are contributing too much to the current 'blowing up things' hype ? I mean, people express a lot of frustration on social media, that s what modern society is about innit? That s what moguls created and that s what they got ! There s a difference though between talking the talk and walking the walk, so please, don t appease your audience for the mere sake of appeasing them, let s face REALITY for once and for a couple of weeks ,NOTHING, really nothing, dramatic took place in the US of A, unlike what corrupt and biased media want us to believe ! You, of all people, don t belong to them, do you ?

Sechel
Sechel

January 6th wasn't an intelligence failure. It was a failure to act on intelligence. I'm not so woried about driving the Parler and QAnon followers underground. I'd rather not make such echo chambers so readily accessible which I think will do more to prevent more Ashli Babbitts

flightss
flightss

The problem is that it is one sided. Calling Americans white worshipers is racist hate speech that should never be condoned.

PecuniaNonOlet
PecuniaNonOlet

Youtube pulls plug on trump channels. Whomp..whomp.

njbr
njbr

There shouldn't be legal consequences because there may be illegal consequences.

Is this the law and order party?

EGW
EGW

Making physical threats on social media, especially against those who hold an elected office, is a good way to get a felony on your record.

Doug78
Doug78

Let me get this right. Somebody who works at twitter hacks Parler and downloads all their data. Twitter and friends then takes down Parler. The twitter hacker then comes up with all kinds of bad things people supposedly said on Parler to justify their eliminating a competitor. Then they claim it was done as a public service and that their motives are pure. Said analysis is then spread out to captive sites of influencers in order to get the message out. No analysis of Twitter's tweets for comparisons to Parler is allowed. Sounds fishy.

Doug78
Doug78

This is corporate war with no rules. With a bunch of bots you can generate any type of traffic you want. You can do that with any site. THINK

Agave
Agave

I suspect that the idiots calling for civil war 2021 have been emboldened by two assumptions:

  • That their dear leader controls the military and can federalize the national guard, and will never use it against them

  • That tradition and rules strongly prevent the military from getting involved in domestic disputes

The extraordinary memo yesterday by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (which was a punch in the face to trump's new political appointees there) indicated to me pretty clearly, among other things that it more directly asserted, that this military and national guard WILL get involved in cases of organized, threatening domestic sedition, and put them down hard and fast. In other words, the fantasy civil war 2021 of the seditionist deplorables has been given a warning shot.

They had better really think about what they are doing. This memo yesterday was the most comforting thing I've seen during this fiasco, and I think it was absolutely needed.

PeteVenkman
PeteVenkman

So Facebook shutting down Ron Paul's page makes sense too ???

wxman40
wxman40

Might have been nice if the cancel culture crowd had begun handling a lot of this type of stuff about three years ago when it started from the progressive side. Where is the trial for the speech that set off some guy to drive to DC to shoot up baseball practice and other such garbage like the guy driving into a crowd at Charlottesville. These hashtags shouldn't surprise anyone because they are pretty much taken out of the French Revolution. Much of the language we heard over the last three years has reminded my very much of that historical period. No ones hands are clean in it either and we need to stop pretending they are. The whole country is exactly like the Jan 6 crowd to some degree except for libertarians.

njbr
njbr

Now what if it turns out that certain groups of the insurrectionists were given tours of the Capitol sponsored by certain House or Senate members who were hoping to have those insurrectionists place "pressure" on the House and Senate?

Coming soon to a report near you.

Jmurr
Jmurr

Have no fear, Mish. Soon, all speech will comply the propaganda of the State. Even that dangerous man Ron Paul was banned from Facebook and Twitter. Any with an opposing message will be censored and removed. Turns out that Wells’ 1984 was 36 years too early.

Agave
Agave

Video of some of the coordination during the Jan. 6 insurrection, and discussion of building plans that they had access to during the occupation. Pink hat lady has apparently been identified as of today:

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

I got Mike_Yoder suspended from twitter. BOOM.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

This was on PBS last night. At some point, the providers should take down Alex Jones. That will send these people into a real frenzy. Basically these people are terrorists of a different time. It is time to start treating them as such. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.

Louis Winthorpe III
Louis Winthorpe III

@donk_enby is pretty awesome, but you can be sure that the FBI has already subpoenaed Amazon for all of the Parler data.

It sure is useful for crowdsourcing though.

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

Anybody who wants to understand why mankind is now using the internet to commit mass suicide (and homicide, and maybe genocide) should really take a few minutes and listen to Jaron Lanier’s 2018 TED Talk. Thee is much more to it than this....but it’s the beginning of my understanding about what’s wrong.....and it’s much more than Trump, unfortunately.

davebarnes2
davebarnes2

Well, I guess we need to get "draw and quarter for sedition" trending.

Rocky Raccoon
Rocky Raccoon

It appears his site is hosted by epik.com

Bungalow Bill
Bungalow Bill

The behavior of your page has been doing strange things the past few days, Mish...

Sechel
Sechel

@Mish , with AON, Cushman & Wakefield, Deutche Bank and other lenders all dropping him what are the odds his businesses stay viable. Is he now forced to sell or declare bankruptcy?

Dagny
Dagny

If one dislikes Parler (or other web site) content, simply don't go to that site. No rocket science needed.

Anda
Anda

Sure you're going to find a lot of mobile phones and sms or talk similar to the above all map nested around capitol. Your point is ?

Either there is free speech or there isn't , is the idea to limit a protestor to standing on a soapbox while allowing official or corporate line a monopoly of broadcast from behind a confused responsibility easily self-labelled virtuous ?

Stop hate speech, incitement ? Not if that is what a portion of society want to share...or is the suggestion to wiretap everywhere ? To not have that content distributed, well you have "twitter safe space" for those who would avoid it but otherwise it is going to have to go the way of china, is going the way of china. To track those who publish hate speech, to just be able to track people "in case they say something" ? That unfortunately is not a good direction to take if history is any example, it is disturbing to see people fall for or replicate the propaganda used to enact it.

Tengen
Tengen

I still can't tell whether QAnon started as a psyop or as the dumbest patriotic movement in human history. Censorship is wrong, but many of us incorrectly assumed that free speech would lead to people trying to exchange information, not painstakingly constructing a ridiculous fantasy world to retreat to.

Soviets who wrote to Stalin in the 1930s, warning him that somebody was shipping people off to Siberian gulags, had a better grasp of reality than the Q crowd.

Roger_Ramjet
Roger_Ramjet

I thought that the NSA and other government surveillance agencies were already monitoring for threats such as this. This would seem to have been a layup to identify such a threat in advance - it was right there on full public display.

If anything, 2020 has shown that there appears to be very little, if any, of our government that is functioning anywhere close to competent and effective.

Bungalow Bill
Bungalow Bill

Cracks me up guys like Rush Limbaugh are angry the heavy hand of big government didn't crush Big Tech when they had the chance. Of course, there's an irony to this. The record stock market Trump and guys like Rush celebrated as proof Trump was a great president really was the result of these technology stocks increasing in great value. https://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2021/01/11/if-democrats-can-erase-our-voices-from-social-media-can-they-erase-our-votes/

TCW
TCW

Our Founders died and killed a lot of British in order to be free. I'm not condoning violence, but stating the fact that our country got it's founding from a violent war when the government that ruled the people had gone too far controlling them. I'm guessing some folks today are starting to feel the same way.

EconomicCrashDummy
EconomicCrashDummy

I hope your comments section doesn't descend into a name calling exercise Mish. I haven't read the comments for a while but these insulting remarks that some people are throwing at each other add nothing. The comments section here used to be very informative. In some other good websites I follow, any insulting comments are deleted. Let the facts and intelligent arguments speak for themselves.

1Roseburgman
1Roseburgman

Imagine an insane world where conversations are censored if there is any way words can be construed as anti-party? Imagine that to enforce that rule those who are judged to speak a contrary line are punished. Where along that line are Americans today? What recourse would Americans have to disagree?

Mish
Mish

Editor

"Let me get this right. Somebody who works at twitter hacks Parler and downloads all their data. Twitter and friends then takes down Parler"

Let YOU get this straight @Doug78 I am tired of bullshit straw man statements presented as facts to make them seem like they happened.

amigator
amigator

Wait a minute ......I thought it was Trump's rally that incited all these protestors?

You mean they were planning this all along? Then what is the impeachment about then? Ohhhhh just the house they have nothing else that they could be doing...

threeblindmice
threeblindmice

I'm all for arresting the Capital rioters. But to tag Parler on this? Isn't identical content found across all social media? Let's not let those who want to destroy Parler define what Parler is so they retain a (partisan) monopoly on information. That's infinitely more dangerous.

HenryBowmanAZ
HenryBowmanAZ

Ooh, gallows! Outrageous! How about the guillotines that were being pushed around by antifa at their "mostly peaceful riots?" Where is the parler cloud for that? Oh, that's right – that was all arranged on Fakebook and Twatter.

tedr
tedr

Solution: Keep your business off the internet. Human beings have survived for thousands of years without the internet and social media and they will for thousands more. If Trump had kept his mouth shut he might still be president but the man can't be quite for five seconds. Problem solved.