- Parler said it alerted the FBI more than 50 times to threats at the Capitol ahead of the January 6 riot.
- The platform, known for its userbase of conservatives and far-right extremists, said it reported “specific threats” to the FBI.
- The Department of Justice has previously said insurrectionists used Parler to plan the violent events.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Conservative social media network Parler asserted in a letter to a Democratic lawmaker that the platform warned the FBI of “specific threats of violence” days ahead of the January 6 Capitol riot.
The letter, addressed to Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York on Thursday, said the platform reported these threats to the FBI more than 50 times, the Washington Post reported.
Parler, which advertises itself as a platform for unregulated language and “free speech,” said it alerted the FBI to posts containing specific references to the Capitol, according to the Post.
One post, published December 24 on the platform, was from a user who “called for the congregation of an armed force of 150,000 on the Virginia side of the Potomac River to ‘react to the congressional events of January 6th.'”
Another user allegedly wrote on the platform that a planned event on January 6 was “not a rally” and “no longer a protest,” lawyers wrote in the letter, according to the Washington Post.
“This is the final stand where we are drawing the red line at Capitol Hill,” one user allegedly wrote, according to the letter. “I trust the American people will take back the USA with force and many are ready to die to take back #USA so remember this is not a party until they announce #Trump2020 a winner . . . And don’t be surprised if we take the #capitalbuilding” [sic].
The Capitol riot left at least five people, including one police officer, dead. Members of the Proud Boys, which is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, were present, according to authorities.
Organizers were emboldened by President Donald Trump’s calls to protest the results of the 2020 election, despite Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory. While members of Congress were meeting inside the Capitol to certify the results, supporters organized an attempted coup and stormed it.
Upon news that the riot breached the building, lawmakers began to shelter in place and many evacuated.
Parler, which has become a mainstay in alt-right communication, has been criticized and scrutinized for its alleged role in the Capitol riot.
As Insider’s Jacob Shamsian reported, Parler’s userbase is largely made up of far-right extremists. The Justice Department has previously said many of those extremists organized the violent events planned for January 6 using the platform.
And after former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account was disabled, top conservatives began sharing their Parler accounts on the platform, encouraging their followers to gravitate there. Among them was Angela Stanton-King, a Republican QAnon supporter who ran in November to represent Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, the seat last held by the deceased Rep. John Lewis.
In the days following the Capitol riot, Apple and Google app stores blocked Parler for violating terms of service. Amazon Web Services also dropped it. These actions effectively took the platform offline.
In February, the company announced that site was up and running with a Tea Party co-founder serving as interim CEO. Mark Meckler, an attorney, political activist, and founder of the Tea Party Patriots, replaced former CEO and co-founder John Matze, who was fired by the company’s board.
Parler has previously shared information with the FBI during the DOJ’s investigation into the Capitol riot. It’s not clear whether Parler handed over information to the FBI after the Department of Justice issued a warrant or subpoena for it or whether the company gave the information over of its own accord.
Parler, Maloney’s office, and the FBI did not immediately return Insider’s requests for comment.
Insider’s Jacob Shamsian contributed to this report.