Rumors of Parler, the Twitter-like micro-blogging platform that bills itself as a Free Speech social network, being hacked, compromising the social security numbers of hundreds of its users have started circulating on Twitter after a screenshot of the platform's database went viral.
Parler was launched in 2018, as a social networking website for the conservatives and has been described as an alternative for users who have been banned from mainstream social media platforms for spreading misinformation.
Although the platform had fewer than 2 million users in early 2020, the number tripled to nearly 6 million users following outrage over censorship of baseless statements related to election fraud as conservatives migrated to alternative platforms in a mass exodus from mainstream apps.
Screenshot of Parler Database 'Leaked'
On Tuesday, Nov. 24, a screenshot of what appears to be a Parler WordPress database with unencrypted credentials started making its way across the Twitterverse, fueling speculation that the social media platform that is popular among Trump supporters, conservatives and right-wing extremists, had been hacked.
As soon as the screenshot leaked, users, including data scientist Kevin Abosch, started reacting to it. "I've seen what looks like legit proof of 5000 compromised Parler accounts including DM's of some well-known figures. Hackers decompiled the app, zero day exploit etc.. I wish I could unsee what I've seen," wrote Abosch.
Others drew attention to the fact that the Parler hack would result in user credentials being compromised, including social security numbers, which the platform requires to "verify" influential users.
#ParlerHacked Trends on Twitter
All the Twitter chatter caused the hashtag #ParlerHacked to become the number one trending topic on the platform in the United States with many Twitter users finding the apparent hack amusing. Here are some of the reactions:
Parler CEO Denies Hacking Rumors As False
Shortly after the rumors circulated on Twitter, Media analyst Mark Dice shared a statement released by Parler CEOJohn Matze stating that the hacking rumors as "fake."
"The alleged 'Parler hack' is a screenshot from a WordPress website that has been circulated repeatedly over the past 6 months, despite Parler's multiple responses that we do not use WordPress products, nor WordPress databases," Matze said.
"All of our databases are hidden behind multiple layers of security and are not accessible via the web. This is an irresponsible rumor that uses a 'techie'-looking WordPress config file, which is only capable of confusing a journalistic hack, not an actual hacker," he continued.
If Twitter continues to fact check others, they should also fact check posts such as these that spread viral misinformation," Matze added. "Furthermore, we don't store any personal data, user verification data is deleted on completion, and direct messages cannot send videos/images. All allegations are fake. They are just obsessed with us."