Parler has sued Amazon Web Services (AWS), after the cloud platform took down the right wing alternative to Twitter.

Parler in its lawsuit accused AWS of breaking anti-trust laws by removing it, but the move comes after both Google and Apple at the weekend removed Parler from their respective App Stores.

And the tech consequences continue after President Donald Trump encouraged his supporters to storm the US Capitol building on Wednesday 6 January, where senators had gathered to ratify the election of Joe Biden.

Coup consequences

Five people died including a police officer, and there are now serious attempts to remove President Trump before he officially leaves office on 20 January, with impeachment motions being filed by Democrats.

President Trump has been permanently banned by Twitter, and Facebook has banned Donald Trump ‘indefinitely’ from its platforms (Instagram etc) as well. Snapchat has also banned Trump.

Parler was a natural alternative for the President after his Twitter ban, as it is mostly used by his supporters and the right wing, and is also reportedly awash with QAnon conspiracy content.

A hacker archived the Parler posts of Trump’s supporters, to help reconstruct the role the social media platform played in the deadly assault on the US Capitol last week.

Parler was hosted on Amazon Web Services, and after AWS staff reportedly flagged concern about the platform to management, the hosting service took down Parler on Monday.

“Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in … violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms,” Amazon was quoted by the Guardian as saying in a letter to Parler. “It also seems that Parler is still trying to determine its position on content moderation. You remove some [content] when contacted by us or others, but not always with urgency. Your CEO recently stated publicly that he doesn’t ‘feel responsible for any of this, and neither should the platform’.”

“We cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others,” Amazon concluded.

Parler lawsuit

But Parler hit back and has sued AWS, and asked a federal judge to order Amazon to reinstate it.

“AWS’s decision to effectively terminate Parler’s account is apparently motivated by political animus,” the complaint reads.

“It is also apparently designed to reduce competition in the microblogging services market to the benefit of Twitter.”

But Amazon immediately responded to this lawsuit.

“There is no merit to these claims,” it was quoted by the BBC as saying. “AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow.”

“However, 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,” AWS reportedly said.

“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,” it stated.

Amazon pointed to example posts on Parler that called for the killing of Democrats, Muslims, Black Lives Matter leaders, and mainstream media journalists.

Whilst Parler is now effectively dead as an app, it should be noted that it can still be accessed via a web browser, although it seems there are problems with creating the new accounts needed to view content on the site.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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