Parler Social Network Sues Amazon After Ban


Parler on Monday filed a lawsuit against the company, which Amazon said has no merit.

"This case is not about suppressing speech or stifling viewpoints", Amazon's lawyers write.

Initially, Parler CEO John Matze downplayed the situation, saying the site and app would be offline for "up to a week" while the company finds another web host. But that will not happen overnight, and free speech experts anticipate growing pressure on all social media platforms to curb incendiary speech as Americans take stock of Wednesday's violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol by a Trump-incited mob.

"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".

Parler's lawsuit got off to a stumbling start. Parler's suit called Amazon's decision politically motivated and "apparently created to reduce competition in the microblogging services market to the benefit of Twitter". Parler also initially failed to serve Amazon with its complaint, in violation of court rules. Solo practitioner David Groesbeck, of Spokane, has previously represented local businesses in licensing, real estate and property disputes.

Amazon Web Services did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment about the algorithm.

Groesbeck filed the suit from an Olympia address owned by lobbyist Tom McBride.

In the interview, Matze said its relationship with Amazon appeared to deteriorate overnight and without much warning, an assessment that Amazon disputes in legal filings. Twitter also relies on Amazon Web Services for cloud computing.

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Specifically, the complaint said incredible breached its contract by not providing Parler 30 days' notice before cutting it off from its servers.

"I founded Parler to be a place of open dialogue and discussion where we could work to move past the anger and hostility that seems to be consuming our otherwise civil society", he said.

Violent content only grew after the January 6 insurrection, according to Amazon's response.

In another court filing Wednesday, Parler said that Amazon had not provided proof that the platform was used to incite and organize the January 6 U.S. Capitol siege. "And any delay in passing temporary restraining order could sound Parler's death knell", the complaint said. "We were clear that Parler needed to have a robust and effective process for identifying and removing content that threatened or encouraged violence, and that it was employing very few resources toward this effort, which we did not believe would be effective". Parler can not hold Amazon "liable. for enforcing the agreement's express terms". "Rather it's that Amazon's Google's and Apple's statements to the press about dropping our access has caused most of our other vendors to drop their support for us as well".

Although Parler is not yet back online, the company registered its domain and server with internet solutions company Epik, which Vice described as the "the internet savior of the far-right" because it also hosts Gab, another alternative to social media platforms operated by Big Tech.

Parler's claims that it had been marginalized, though, were soon thrown into question.

Parler was launched in 2018, as a counter to Twitter, giving users the ability to follow profiles and to write "parleys" instead of tweets.

Activity on Twitter? Wasn't "activity" on Parler the excuse for dropping the app from the Google Play and Apple app stores, and for Amazon to stop hosting them? Parler had prepared for events like this, Matze posted on Parler, "by never relying on amazons [sic] proprietary infrastructure".

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