80TB-Worth Of Parler User Data Was Scraped For The Internet To See


Parler, is a social network popular for its far-right content, antisemitism, and conspiracy theories, including QAnon.

After it was found to have helped with the plan of storming the U.S. Capitol, the platform that markets itself as a "free speech" and unbiased alternative to mainstream social networks, has been banned from Google Play Store, Apple App Store and Amazon Web Services.

But it was later revealed that before Parler was booted from the three, the microblogging platform was hit by a massive data scrape.

Before the network went dark, security researchers collected swaths of user data that amount to more than 80TB of data.

The data includes user profile data, user information, and which users had administration rights for specific groups within the social media.

Twitter user that goes with the handle @donk_enby, was the first who announced about the scrape, claiming that over a million video URLs, some deleted and private, were taken.

“These are original, unprocessed, raw files as uploaded to Parler with all associated metadata,” the Twitter user said.

Some security researchers who have dug deep into the scrapped posts, said that the posts were linked to accounts that posted them. Making things worse in terms of privacy, some of the videos and images have geolocation information within them.

The scraped data that is accessible to the public, is also said to include data from Parler’s 'Verified Citizens', which were users of the network who have verified their identity by uploading photographs of government-issued IDs, such as a driver’s license.

Following the storming of the U.S. Capitol Building, the authorities are still in pursuit of those who have entered, raided and vandalized the building. And the data contained within the scraped data, can be valuable to law enforcement since many who participated in the storming have deleted their posts and videos after the incident.

Since the data scrape includes deleted posts, it's revealed that Parler was still storing user data even after the users deleted it.

Parler claimed to have over 10 million users.

While that is significantly smaller than the likes of Twitter, which is also a microblogging platform, Parler is popular among alt-tech users, as well as among the supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump and a lot of conservatives.

This is because Parler lacked the strict rules that govern its platform.

This fact made it an attractive to far-right groups.

When it was banned by Apple, Google and Amazon Web Services, Parler was hit hard.

Parler’s chief executive, John Matze, said that Parler could be “unavailable” for up to a week in order to “rebuild from scratch”, the Washington Post reported.

Matze said that the ban was "a horrible way to handle this."

"Guess they arnt [sic] really concerned about the 'violence' that is against our rules anyway," Matze posted on Parler. "If they actually cared, they would try to help. Not dump the app and send a break up public statement."

“Apparently they believe Parler is responsible for ALL user generated content on Parler. By the same logic, Apple must be responsible for ALL actions taken by their phones. Every car bomb, every illegal cell phone conversation, every illegal crime committed on an iPhone, Apple must also be responsible for,” Matze said of Apple.

Before the ban, Parler was the most downloaded app. But soon after the ban, it was gone.