April 19, 2021

Parler Claims It Repeatedly Warned the FBI About the Capitol Protest But Was Ignored

The popular Conservative social media platform Parler apparently established a working relationship with the FBI in November and in the weeks leading up to the January 6th Capitol riot. The company claims that during that time, they repeatedly warned the FBI about threats being planned on the platform, including violence at the U.S. Capitol.

The company sent a letter to Democratic Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (N.Y.), chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman, in which they forcefully “set the record straight” about claims that it “didn’t do enough” to alert police about plans of violence leading up to the events on January 6th.

After the Capitol protest, Parler was heavily targeted and consequently de-platformed by its tech giants. Just days after the attack, Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores and Amazon Web Services removed it from its servers.

But the company is now offering screenshots of emails that prove it “took the extraordinary initiative to develop formal lines of communication with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (‘FBI’) to facilitate proactive cooperation and referrals of violent threats and incitement to law enforcement.”

“In the days and weeks leading up to Jan. 6, Parler referred violent content from its platform to the F.B.I. for investigation over 50 times,” the company’s letter states. “Parler even alerted law enforcement to specific threats of violence being planned at the Capitol.”

The New York Times noted that the letter “raises fresh questions about whether the F.B.I. took seriously enough threats of violence made ahead of Jan. 6.” .

The letter from Parler also included several specific examples of warnings the company sent to the FBI before the January 6th riot. Here is part of the letter outlining those examples:

In December 2020, Parler also began to alert the FBI about alarming content that included specific threats of organized violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. For example, on December 24, Parler forwarded a post to the FBI 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.” Later that same day, Parler forwarded another unlawful post to the FBI in which a user stated that he was trying to “find some guys that are planning on lighting up Antifa in Wa[shington, D.C.] on the 6th” because he wanted to “start eliminating people.”

A few days later on January 2, 2021, Parler forwarded the FBI a series of posts by a user claiming that he would be wearing body armor and stating that the planned event in Washington, D.C. on January 6th “is not a rally and it’s no longer a protest. This is the final stand where we are drawing the red line at Capitol Hill. 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 #capital [sic] building . . . .” Parler included another post in this referral to the FBI in which the user made clear that armed people would be at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 and noted that an insurrection would be necessary because “Trump needs us to cause chaos to enact the #insurrectionact.”