A hacker and security researcher claims to have downloaded and archived over 99% of the posts, videos, and images uploaded to Parler, a right-wing social media platform that was taken offline earlier this week.
The hacker, known by her Twitter account name as @donk_enby, began to archive content posted to Parler with the goal of archiving posts to the platform on January 6, when violent insurrectionists stormed the Capitol building. Following the announcement that Amazon Web Services was disabling hosting for the service, she enlisted others via crowdsourcing to download all posted content since the Parler’s launch in 2018.
“[I]n non-technical terms, I’d describe the current Parler archival situation as ‘a bunch of people running into a burning building trying to grab as many things as we can’,” she posted to her Twitter feed, promising to release information and data in a more accessible form in the near future. Researchers with access to the data have since released GPS information of Parler users within the Capitol building during the January 6 riots.
In addition to publicly accessible posts and videos, the data archive also includes deleted posts and GPS coordinates. The raw data archives have been posted to the website ArchiveTeam.org, a group committed to preserving internet information and content at risk of deletion.
The relative ease of downloading Parler’s content has been attributed to its relatively poorly written and secured code, which allowed anyone online to be able to access the entirety of its content. Parler also failed to remove metadata including GPS coordinates from videos and photos, and kept deleted content in an accessible format.