Following the violent attack on Capitol Hill, a researcher undertook an effort to archive the publications of Talking users. This is a platform designed to allow full freedom of expression for Conservatives. But the site eventually turned into a hotbed of far-right conspiracy theories, uncontrolled racism and death threats against prominent politicians.
Talking or platform drifting
The name of the person behind this archiving is not known, but it is presented under the pseudonym @donk_enby and describes himself as a hacker. Its purpose: archive each message from January 6…the day of the Capitol Hill Riot. It would be, in his words, a multitude of strong evidence. Especially since according to the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (among other sources), Talking would be one of the many applications used to coordinate the assault on the U.S. Congress building.
The contents of Speaking quickly drifted and boycotted by the biggest players on the web. Apple and Google announced that Talking would be removed from their application storesThe platform has not adequately moderated publications promoting violence and crime. Amazon comes to drive the nail in again by making the same decision. Amazon deplores a steady increase of violent content and the lack of an effective process for complying with AWS conditions of use.
Archiving to create a lasting public record
In the hope of creating a sustainable public record for future researchers, @donk_enby started by archiving posts published on Speak since January 6, 2021. This person managed to capture nearly 99.9% of the platform’s contentincluding some 1.1 million video URLs. @donk_enby states that these are original raw filess, unprocessed, uploaded to Talking with All metadata associated, such as GPS coordinates pointing to the exact locations of where the videos were taken.
All this data grossly invasive of privacy. Nevertheless, these archives can be used by law enforcement agencies who are investigating the riot involving five murders, including that of Capitol Hill police officer Brian Sicknick with a fatal head injury. The work of @donk_enby has helped other researchersincluding those of the Center for Cybersecurity at New York University. According to sources, all these data could be hosted by Internet Archive.
Talking: a quick fall and a hard rebound?
@donk_enby told Gizmodo (a blog focused on gadgets and new technologies) that she started digging into Talking after the company had denies an email leak discovered by Kirtner, the supposed founder of the hacker group Anonymous. Dan Bonginoone of Parler’s investors stated that the company wasn’t done with Apple and Google….
John MatzeCEO of Parler, for his part, states that…Amazon, Apple and Google are trying to destroy the company…. As a result of this case, it is unlikely that Speaking will bounce back quickly, if at all. The migration of a large product out of AWS can take months of preparation and possibly years to run.