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Parler Sues Amazon After Company Forces Social Media Site Offline

Social media platform Parler sued Amazon Web Services (AWS) Monday after Amazon banned the website from being hosted on its servers.

Article originally published by Forbes. Hargreaves Lansdown is not responsible for its content or accuracy and may not share the author's views. News and research are not personal recommendations to deal. All investments can fall in value so you could get back less than you invest.

The Parler logo is seen on an Apple iPhone in this photo illustration in Warsaw, Poland on January 11, 2021. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images). NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Topline

Social media platform Parler sued Amazon Web Services (AWS) Monday after Amazon banned the website from being hosted on its servers in the wake of the recent attack on the U.S. Capitol building, claiming Amazon violated antitrust laws and was “motivated by political animus” in its decision to suspend the company over the actions of its far-right users.

Key Facts

Following action from Apple and Google, Amazon notified Parler Saturday night it was suspending the website from its servers as a result of “posts that clearly encourage and incite violence” in violation of its terms of service, and formally suspended the company starting Sunday night.

Parler is now offline, and CEO John Matze said on the platform before it went down that it was unclear when the service would return, as additional vendors had dropped support for the platform and “most people with enough servers to host us have shut their doors to us.”

Parler asked the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington to issue a temporary restraining order to stop the site from going offline, saying in their lawsuit that Amazon’s decision will force the website offline for “a financially devastating period” of time.

Parler also pointed to a deal AWS had made with Twitter as alleged evidence of anticompetitive practices, claiming that Twitter’s decision to ban President Donald Trump and the possibility he and his supporters could move to Parler made the social media startup a “looming threat to Twitter.”

“Without AWS, Parler is finished as it has no way to get online,” the company said in the lawsuit, alleging that delaying a restraining order “by even one day could also sound Parler’s death knell as President Trump and others move on to other platforms.”

Parler has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Crucial Quote

Amazon shutting down Parler “is the equivalent of pulling the plug on a hospital patient on life support,” Parler’s lawsuit argues. “It will kill Parler’s business—at the very time it is set to skyrocket.”

Chief Critic

An AWS spokesperson said in a statement “there is no merit to [Parler’s] claims,” and though Amazon “respect[s] Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow...it is clear that there is significant content on Parler that encourages and incites violence against others, and that Parler is unable or unwilling to promptly identify and remove this content, which is a violation of our terms of service.” “We made our concerns known to Parler over a number of weeks and during that time we saw a significant increase in this type of dangerous content, not a decrease, which led to our suspension of their services Sunday evening,” Amazon said.

Key Background

Parler’s deplatforming is part of a broader tech backlash against Wednesday’s seizure of the U.S. Capitol building by supporters of President Donald Trump, including Trump himself being banned from Twitter and other social media networks. Parler’s far right user base, who have flocked to the social media platform because of its lax approach to content moderation, had posted a number of calls to violence on the site in the run up to and aftermath of the Capitol siege, with Amazon noting in its letter to Parler it had found 98 instances of posts that incited violence “over the past several weeks.” Amazon’s decision to take Parler offline also comes amid reports that far-right extremists are plotting potential additional violent attacks ahead of and on Inauguration Day. In a bulletin obtained by ABC News, the FBI reportedly warned armed groups are calling to “storm” federal and state capitol buildings if Trump is removed as president prior to Inauguration Day, and warned of a potential “huge uprising” if the 25th Amendment is invoked.


This article was written by Alison Durkee from Forbes and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

Article originally published by Forbes. Hargreaves Lansdown is not responsible for its content or accuracy and may not share the author's views. News and research are not personal recommendations to deal. All investments can fall in value so you could get back less than you invest.

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