Parler says it reported violent content to FBI dozens of times in weeks leading up to Capitol riot

Company was earlier criticized for allegedly not policing violent content on its servers.

Updated: March 26, 2021 - 10:36pm

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Alternative social media site Parler this week told the U.S. House of Representatives that, in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, it reported dozens of instances of violent content to federal authorities, complicating an earlier narrative in which the platform was accused of not doing enough to address dangerous content on its servers. 

Parler faced major blacklisting earlier this year when tech companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon banned the app from their respective digital storefronts and servers, claiming Parler users had been allowed to share violent content and plan the Capitol riot with no oversight from platform moderators. 

But in a Thursday letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, attorneys for Parler said the company "in the days and weeks leading up to January 6th...referred violent content from its platform to the FBI for investigation over 50 times, and Parler even alerted law enforcement to specific threats of violence being planned at the Capitol."

"Far from being the far-right instigator and rogue company that Big Tech has portrayed Parler to be," the letter continues, "the facts conclusively demonstrate that Parler has been a responsible and law-abiding company focused on ensuring that only free and lawful speech exists on its platform."

Parler, which has billed itself as an openly free-speech alternative to other microblogging sites like Twitter, reportedly has several million active users.