Deep Dive Into Parler Data

Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and other companies have shut down support for Parler, making it internet dead.

However, a number of people downloaded all the data right before it was shut down. That data is both fascinating and deeply disturbing.

January 6 Was Predictable 

An "anonymous data scientist" who downloaded the data says We could have predicted the events of January 6th from Parler’s data.

I ran a crawler to collect posts and comments on the Parler social network for months before Amazon shut them down. Parler was a poorly-engineered app that hosted a wide range of hate speech, conspiracy theories, threats of violence, and disinformation.  

Users could only search posts on Parler (called “Parleys”) by hashtags, not by the text content within the post itself. This led users to liberally apply hashtags within any Parley that they wished to disseminate widely, unknowingly providing valuable metadata to researchers like myself. 

For example, here is a random Parley from January 6th in Washington D.C.

#trump had to allow #mikepence to sign his own death warrant…..
#TraitorPence #GITMO #firingsquad

#ALLorNOTHING #2theEND #wildDC #magarally #wildprotest
#saveamericarally #trumprally #dc #ArrestPence #traitorVP

#JAN6 the new #911….. #makethempay #retribution

Hanging Politicians Goes Viral

The notion of murdering politicians was widely discussed on Parler for months before the 2020 US election, and these posts were never moderated. The relative frequency of hashtags involving hanging/execution more than doubles after the 2020 US election (blue vertical line above), more than triples on the day of the Electoral College vote (green line), and is an order of magnitude higher on the day of the Capitol riot (red line).

It is clear that Parler allowed the idea of attacking and hanging politicians to spread virally on the platform, either through gross negligence or willing ignorance. This idea manifested itself in the gallows erected outside the US Capitol on January 6th. The gallows are a reference to the white supremacist literature The Turner Diaries, in which a “Day of the Rope” features politicians hung en masse.

Day of Rope

Day of Rope

Parler Hastag Analysis

Parler Hashtag Analysis

Parler Word Cloud 

Parler Word Cloud

Civil War

In a word cloud, the bigger the words, the higher the frequency. 

In the days right before January 6, "civil war" was the big buzzphrase.

The QAnon conspiracy

There are a substantial number of Americans (at least 100,000 on Parler and two sitting US congresswomen) who believe there is a vast global conspiracy by a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles to consolidate power, and that Donald Trump is secretly trying to bring them down. One distinct feature of the QAnon conspiracy is how new layers of rationalization are continuously added through widely disseminated videos — unlike the moon landing conspiracies, QAnon’s purported conspiracy is ongoing, and continuously adapting to current events.

Ashli Babbitt QAnon

Ashli Babbitt, the woman shot and killed inside the capitol was a QAnon follower.

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For further discussion, please see my post The Sorry Saga of Ashli Babbitt Shot in the Capitol

QAnon Targets George Soros

QAnon Targets George Soros

The term "echo" is similar to a Twitter Retweet (posting the same message to those who follow you).

Anonymous Data Scientist Concludes

You can contact me about this post and to request access to the dataset by messaging me on Twitter. I will be keeping my identity concealed for obvious reasons — there is panic among the ex-Parler community that all their data, even private/deleted posts, have been scraped and archived — it has, just not by me. Furthermore, Parler did not follow industry standards in obfuscating EXIF metadata from uploaded images, so millions of users had their exact location logged.

Exact Locations Logged

Gizmodo Analysis

Parler GPS

Gizmodo reports Parler Users Breached Deep Inside U.S. Capitol Building, GPS Data Shows

At least several users of the far-right social network Parler appear to be among the horde of rioters that managed to penetrate deep inside the U.S. Capitol building and into areas normally restricted to the public, according to GPS metadata linked to videos posted to the platform the day of the insurrection in Washington.  

The data, obtained by a computer hacker through legal means ahead of Parler’s shutdown on Monday, offers a bird’s eye view of its users swarming the Capitol grounds after receiving encouragement from President Trump — and during a violent breach that sent lawmakers and Capitol Hill visitors scrambling amid gunshots and calls for their death. GPS coordinates taken from 618 Parler videos analyzed by Gizmodo has already been sought after by FBI as part of a sweeping nationwide search for potential suspects, at least 20 of whom are already in custody.

Gizmodo has mapped nearly 70,000 geo-located Parler posts and on Tuesday isolated hundreds published on January 6 near the Capitol where a mob of pro-Trump supporters had hoped to overturn a democratic election and keep their president in power. The data shows Parler users posting all throughout the day, documenting their march from the National Mall to Capitol Hill where the violent insurrection ensued.

Gizmodo Graphic

Gizmodo Graphic

The red dot just south of the Capitol Rotunda’s center on the map above is linked to a video Gizmodo verified that shows rioters in red MAGA hats shouting obscenities about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose office is a short walk to the west. But other dots nearby could indicate videos captured in adjacent offices, stairwells, or hallways leading toward the House and Senate chambers. A second video successfully linked to the Parler data belongs to a rioter who filmed a mob in the Rotunda chanting, “Whose House? Our House?” (while facing the Senate side of the building).

The Parler data was first obtained by a hacker identified by her Twitter handle, @donk_enby, as reported by Gizmodo on Monday.

In an interview Monday, @donk_enby said she began to archive posts from Parler the day of the siege, documenting what she described as “very incriminating” evidence linked to a mob of Parler users on the Hill. When it later became clear that Amazon intended to expel the app from its servers, she expanded her efforts to vacuum up the entirety of its content.

According to @donk_enby, more than 99% of all Parler posts, including millions of videos bearing the locations of users, were saved. Unlike most of its competitors, Parler apparently had no mechanism in place to strip sensitive metadata from its users’ videos prior to posting them online.

Metadata

Wow, Just Wow

The data by donk_enby and the "anonymous data scientist" provide a stunning look into what was actually going down. 

Looking for true patriots? You have a couple of them right there.

The mob wanted Pelosi and they got to within a door. 

A number of these people should be tried for sedition if not treason. The FBI has at least 160 open cases and I expect hundreds more as they comb through these data files.

Mish

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