Parler CEO: Claims That Users’ Driver’s Licenses Were Hacked Are ‘Viral Misinformation’

January 12, 2021 Updated: January 12, 2021

The CEO of Parler, John Matze, on Tuesday dismissed claims that the social media website was hacked and users’ personal information, including pictures of driver’s licenses, was leaked.

Rumors being spread on Twitter, Reddit, and an article published by Russian state-backed RT.com asserted that more than 70 terabytes of data from Parler servers were captured and archived before the website was effectively taken down after Amazon Web Services suspended its account on Monday. Other posts and the RT report suggested that driver’s licenses, which some Parler users uploaded to verify their identities online, were obtained in the alleged data breach.

Matze told The Epoch Times via text message the claims Parler was hacked or driver’s licenses were obtained “is untrue.”

Such claims are “viral misinformation spread on Twitter,” he remarked via text message on Tuesday.

A self-described hacker, “donk_enby,” said they obtained the data including posts, videos, pictures, and metadata. “These are the original, unprocessed, raw files as uploaded to Parler with all associated metadata,” the person wrote, adding that it “may include things from deleted/private posts.”

Hours later, “donk_enby” said that publicly available information was archived.

“Since a lot of people seem confused about this detail and there is a [expletive] reddit post going around: only things that were available publicly via the web were archived. i don’t have you e-mail address, phone or credit card number. unless you posted it yourself on parler [sic],” the person wrote.

A Reddit group known as ParlerWatch pinned a post that “the heavily upvoted description of the Parler hack is totally inaccurate.”

“An inaccurate description of the Parler hack was posted here 8 hours ago, and has currently received nearly a thousand upvotes and numerous awards. Update: Now, 12 hours old, it has over 1300 upvotes. Unfortunately it’s a completely inaccurate description of what went down. The post is confusing all the various security issues and mixing them up in a totally wrong way. The security researcher in question has confirmed that the description linked above was [nonsense],” the post read.

The group furthermore claimed: “TLDR, the data were all publicly accessible files downloaded through an unsecured/public API by the Archive Team, there’s no evidence at all someone were able to create administrator accounts or download the database,” as some on Twitter and Reddit previously asserted.

Seventy terabytes is a relatively small amount of data given that Parler had tens of millions of users.

On Monday, Parler filed a lawsuit against Amazon in Washington state in a bid to reinstate the website, arguing that the Seattle-based tech giant violated its contract.

The emergency order asked a judge to reject Amazon’s shutdown of Parler’s account and said it is akin to “pulling the plug on a hospital patient on life support.” Amazon “will kill Parler’s business—at the very time it is set to skyrocket,” Parler’s complaint said.

“When Twitter announced two evenings ago that it was permanently banning President Trump from its platform, conservative users began to flee Twitter en masse for Parler. The exodus was so large that the next day, yesterday, Parler became the number one free app downloaded from Apple’s App Store,” the lawsuit reads.