Sammamish company says it has no plans to host Parler

Jan 15, 2021, 5:07 AM
The logo of the social media platform Parler. (Christophe Gateau/dpa via AP)
(Christophe Gateau/dpa via AP)

Rumors abounded this week when Parler moved its domain name to Sammamish-based web-hosting company Epik.

Amazon Web Services kicked the controversial social media site off of its servers last weekend after some of its users called for violence against the government prior to the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

In an exclusive interview with KIRO Radio, Epik said they don’t normally have contact with the sites that choose them to host a domain name.

“Registers run kind of in an automated basis — when names come in, no one is monitoring them, surveilling them,” said Robert Davis, vice president of communications and marketing for Epik. “Customers create an account, they go on and set them up, they register them, pay the renewal fee … all of it is automated.”

Davis said they are not in talks with Parler about hosting the site on a larger scale, and have no plans to do so.

“We’ve had no connection, no correlation, nothing to do with Parler, no discussions,” he said. “There was no relationship there whatsoever.”

They did speak with Parler this week after the domain name incident, but Davis said the only conversation they’ve had is trying to learn how everything with Parler went so wrong.

“We have had conversations — they weren’t based on the focus of Epik becoming a host,” Davis said. “We were trying to learn at what point the wheels fell off the bus.”

Epik does not rule out working with Parler in the future, but said the social media site would need to make big strides, like investing in tech systems that would root out harmful content, and creating a clearer line between free speech and inappropriate speech.

“They would definitely need to make changes … they already have a zero-tolerance of hate and violence and incitement, but it’s one thing to say that, and another to invest in the infrastructure to make sure it doesn’t actually happen,” Davis said. “And that’s the progress they have to go through.”

In the past, Epik has been linked to controversial right-wing sites, such as InfoWars, The Daily Stormer, and Gab, a site used by the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter to post violent content. However, Epik said it no longer hosts those sites because of harmful posts.

“We have no tolerance for racism … Epik has zero tolerance for anything that’s hate-based or violence-based that incites,” Davis said. “We remove more content — anything that comes in our abuse department is typically responded to within 30 seconds to three minutes. We have an active, full-time, 24-hour-a-day team that actually reviews content.”

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Sammamish company says it has no plans to host Parler