Parler became hopeless. In order to reach its expanding audience of more than 12 million people, it had depended on Amazon’s Web hosting capabilities. Six other web providers rejected it when Amazon shut it off. It seems destined to vanish from the Internet.
Up till SkySilk appeared.
Last month, a mysterious Web hosting business in Los Angeles reached out and helped Parler go back online.
SkySilk CEO Kevin Matossian said in his first interview since that time that he never planned to enter the public discussion around internet expression. Instead, he said that he struck a deal with Parler out of disdain for powerful digital companies like Amazon.
He questioned, “Is the power that Big Tech wields more harmful than the venom and fury of certain sites on the Internet? We adopted the stance that the excess of big technology and its unrestrained power are equally terrifying.
Amazon terminated Parler in January after discovering it was permitting material that “encourages or incites violence against others” in the aftermath of the Capitol siege. Amazon defended its action by claiming the social media platform constituted a “very significant danger to public safety.”
The majority of the criticism in talks about the negative effects of uncontrolled online speech has been directed at social media sites. Companies who provide the platforms’ secret infrastructure, however, are very powerful.
The gatekeepers are increasingly tech companies like Seattle-based Epik and others that provide Web hosting and website registration services, including SkySilk. Frequently, such businesses alone are able to establish the existence or not of websites, even ones that service millions of users.
SkySilk’s enigmatic nature baffles even former workers
Since its founding by Alex Gorban in 2015, SkySilk, which provides hosting, cloud storage, and a number of other internet services, has remained unnoticed.
Diana Gorban, Alex’s wife, identified herself as SkySilk’s CEO, secretary, and chief financial officer in a 2017 California state filing.
Additionally, Alex Gorban has a business called IT Creations that sells surplus and used computer components. Both businesses have offices in Chatsworth, a suburban area of Los Angeles.
For this piece, the couple refused to speak.
However, interviews with a number of former SkySilk workers revealed that the business was conducted carelessly, with poor morale and general disorder.
An ex-employee who asked to remain anonymous out of concern for reprisals reported a “sketchy” working atmosphere in which the office “was 95% vacant most of the time” even before the epidemic. But the individual added that there were cameras in every room.
According to the former employee, “And they employed largely friends and family, so everyone was loyal to management.”
I thought it was a side company for something else, but nobody ever found it out,” the guy said.
The former employee said that SkySilk intended to compete with Amazon Web Services.
The former employee said, “We were ordered to attempt to grab 0.01 of AWS’ business. And we would be prospering if we did.
The former SkySilk employee made reference to persons or businesses wanting to bury unfavorable results on search engines like Google by saying, “We would take anybody on as a customer, such those who were searching for methods to conceal their search history.”
A second former employee of SkySilk agreed with this assessment, stating that the firm seemed like an aimless and muddled extension of IT Creations and that employees came and left.
“It was a door that rotated. There were several changes made, “explained one former employee. We sometimes seemed to be unsure about the company’s very purpose,
Chief Executive Officer of SkySilk Matossian responded saying he was unaware of any widespread employee discontent or claims that the company was in disarray. He said that a company entrepreneur recruiting friends and relatives is not rare. According to him, SkySilk has always had a large number of remote workers, which accounts for the office being mostly empty. Additionally, he said that “maintaining a certain degree of security” requires extensive usage of surveillance cameras in open areas of the workplace.
According to Matossian, SkySilk, which mostly collaborates with software developers, has nothing to conceal.
“There is nothing side about it. Nothing about it is a shell firm, “added said. “I can affirm that with vigor.”
In a subsequent conversation, Matossian said that SkySilk also collaborates with firms that provide software for the automotive, medical, entertainment, and gaming industries. However, he did not provide any other information. He said that SkySilk only has around 50 workers worldwide.
Matossian: Using Big Tech, you may “disappear”
Matossian, 47, said before joining SkySilk that he intended to retire early and devote his time to independent cinema endeavors.
In spite of being a hub for far-right organizations, white supremacists, and false information, Parler has the right to operate online, according to SkySilk’s Matossian. He claims that he has never personally used Parler.
NPR’s Tara Pixley
Son of a minister and an accountant, Matossian dabbled in Southern California real estate before starting a number of firms in the film and television industries.
He sold the business he created 13 years earlier, Film Solutions, to a group of investors in 2019 for an unknown price. The company manages promotional images taken on site for TV and film projects.
He said that as he purchased computer gear from IT Creations over the years, he got to know the Gorbans.
Another thing that Matossian and Diana Gorban had in common—Armenian ancestry—further solidified their relationship.
Finding like-minded individuals in an environment that you like being in is enjoyable, according to Matossian.
Before Diana Gorban approached him to run SkySilk late last year, Matossian said he became an unofficial adviser to the enterprises owned by the Gorbans.
Just before the corporation chose to assist in the revival of Parler, he joined. Despite being a hub for far-right organizations, white supremacists, and false information, Parler has the right to operate online, according to Matossian.
Big technology’s ability to switch you on and off “frightens us and alarms us,” he added. “I remember us making jokes about this. that the mob has the power to make you vanish. Nowadays, advanced technology allows for digital disappearance.”
According to Matossian, accepting Parler was also a financial choice made to make a statement to other websites that other Web servers deemed too hazardous or troublesome.
He added, “It would be silly of me to tell you that the advantage of attention would be detrimental to us. Our goals are as good as we can make them, but we’re pleased if people choose to utilize us as a service.
By “noble,” Matossian meant “preserving the spirit of the First Amendment online,” echoing other supporters of ostensibly alternative social media platforms who often raise the flag of free speech in response to criticism of the kind of material that flourishes on the platforms.
SkySilk “took a stand with us.”
After the Capitol uprising on January 6, Amazon terminated its relationship with Parler citing 98 instances of tweets that advocated violence.
Conservatives Attend Mercer-Funded Speaker Events and Charge Online Censorship
Conservatives Attend Mercer-Funded Speaker Events and Charge Online Censorship
Parler confessed it had 26,000 tweets backlogged that “possibly promoted violence,” and blamed a power outage on the social media platform being overrun with new users after Twitter banned former President Donald Trump.
Amy Peikoff, the chief policy officer of Parler, said in a statement to NPR that after going dark, the website soon became despised in the tech community.
The systematic misinformation effort against Parler “enabled many of our suppliers to be misinformed, and many were frightened or terrified to do business with us, for fear of being blacklisted or doxxed,” Peikoff said. However, SkySilk supported us morally.
Parler is still not running at its full potential. It may only be used by those who had accounts prior to January 10. However, when Parler starts to expand once again and enables new users to create accounts, focus will shift to how it enforces its new content policies. These rules pale in contrast to those of popular social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, which have progressively cracked down on material that spreads misinformation and hate speech.
Peikoff claimed in a November 19 email conversation that used the N-word to disparage former first lady Michelle Obama that it would not be against Parler’s terms of service. The email was made public in court records.
More speech is the greatest defense against hatred, according to Peikoff.
Following Amazon’s decision, Parler’s former CEO said he made an effort to enact stronger regulations that would have prohibited content from domestic terrorist organizations and the QAnon-supporting conspiracy theory. John Matze claims that his position lost him his job. According to a person familiar with the situation who spoke to NPR earlier this month, Republican megadonor Rebekah Mercer, a co-founder and investor of Parler, stripped the former CEO of his entire share in the firm and forced him out.
Only postings that violate the law are specifically prohibited under Parler’s amended guidelines.
According to its new policy, “Parler will not knowingly let itself to be used as a tool for crime, civil torts, or other illicit conduct.”
Parler said that if nothing else, it would only take “absolute minimum” action to delete people or the stuff they publish.
According to Parler’s community standards, users must go through a filter to see messages that are deemed “not appropriate for work” or “trolling material.”
After Amazon shut it down, the judge declines to reinstate Parler.
“Regrettably, you will encounter riffraff in these public spaces and platforms where individuals may express themselves. It is inherent in the situation “said he. We don’t want to support it in any way, but we also don’t want to stifle the more mainstream, or centrist, perspective.
He said that he would still do business with the website even if he regarded some of the postings on Parler to be abhorrent.
“My tolerance levels are probably far lower than those of most individuals. I was raised in a Christian family, and although there are certain things on the Internet that I wouldn’t want my kids around, “says he. “However, where do you draw the line when moderating content? I’m not sure.”