December 2, 2023

Social media company Parler sues Amazon

The social media company Parler sued Amazon on Monday, arguing that its suspension from Amazon’s hosting service violated antitrust law and breached their contractual agreement.

Parler asked a federal judge to order Amazon to reinstate its platform.

The pro-Trump website, favored by conservatives, but which does not monitor dangerous content went offline on Sunday night after Amazon removed it from its cloud hosting service, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The decision went into force on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time. It will shut down Parler’s website and app until it can find a new hosting provider.

Apple and Google had already dropped Parler app from its Play Store for not monitoring content that incites violence.

The unprecedented decision follows the insurrection by pro-Trump supporters at the United States Capitol on January 6. At least six people have died in connection with that brutal assault.

Parler CEO John Matze told Fox News: “We’re going to try our best, you know, to get back online as quickly as possible. But we’re having a lot of trouble because every vendor we talked to, you know, says they won’t work with us because Apple doesn’t approve and Google doesn’t approve.”

In announcing the suspension of service, Amazon said Parler had violated its terms of service by failing to moderate its content. Parler’s users glorified the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday January 6 by pro-Trump supporters.

Amazon said the suspension would be implemented just before midnight on Monday, meaning the website would need to find another host before that time to remain online.

The Washington Post quoted someone familiar with the decision as confirming that Amazon AWS communicated its suspension to Parler on Saturday.

The suspension by Amazon comes on the same day Apple Inc. suspended Parler social networking app from its Play Store for failing to moderate its platform and for allowing posts that incite violence. Apple had given the service 24 hours to implement moderation or be suspended.

“We have always supported diverse diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” Apple said in a statement on Saturday. “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety.”

Apple’s suspension came only a day after Alphabet’s Inc.’s Google suspended Parler from its Play Store app market place.

Alphabet cited violations of requirements for sufficient moderation of content for apps it distributes.

Parler is a network favored by conservatives and extremists, and defines itself as a platform for free speech. There is virtually no moderation and people are allowed to say what they want, including what can be defined as promoting violence and extremism.

Many supporters of President Donald Trump migrated to Parler after they were suspended from other platforms such as Twitter Inc, which permanently suspended President Trump’s account on Friday.

Google said in a statement that Parler continues to posts that seek to “incite ongoing violence in the U.S.”

“For us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content. In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app’s listings from the Play Store until it addresses these issues.”

Apple cited instances of posts from people planning to descend on Washington, D.C., with weapons after a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.

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