Parler has filed a federal lawsuit against Amazon for discontinuing support for its website.
The social network is known for including many of the people banned from Twitter, YouTube and other tech platforms. This open door policy has embroiled the aspiring company in a violent backlash to the unrest in the U.S. Capitol and its willingness to participate in spreading lies about the 2020 election and other issues.
After warning that it would be bailed for Parler posts directly contributing to the violence by President Donald Trump’s supporters, Amazon Web Services followed suit today and the website went dark. Hours later, Parler filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Parler Site officially goes dark, CEO shouts “Double Standard” with Antitrust Bent
The complaint (read it in full HERE) accuses the tech giant of disrupting a competitor’s business by cleaning up political speech that it disagrees with. “AWS ‘decision to effectively terminate Parler’s account is apparently motivated by political animations,” the lawsuit said. “It is apparently also intended to reduce competition in the market for microblogging services in favor of Twitter.”
Withdrawal of assistance is “the equivalent of pulling the plug on a hospital patient for life support. It’s going to kill Parler’s business – right at the point when it is going to skyrocket. “
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has often grappled with Trump on a number of subjects, to a greater extent than any differences he had from other tech CEOs.
According to Parler, Amazon has not only violated antitrust law, it has also violated its contract. (The contract is included as a lengthy exhibit along with the main registration.) The lawsuit seeks an injunction to restore Parler to AWS, as well as unspecified damage.
The Amazon call followed the removal of the Parler app from the Apple and Google app stores over the weekend. All tech companies felt that further improving the app could encourage violence, as many Donald Trump supporters recently joined Parler. Last week’s attack on the US Capitol followed a series of posts on Parler that encouraged false claims of election fraud and fueled the outrage that led to the fatal incursion into Washington.
Twitter and Facebook banned Trump from their platforms, and several others did so, after the president repeatedly urged followers to march on the Capitol. Unlike Parler, Twitter had attempted to flag, or sometimes delete, posts spreading lies about the election, the results of which were upheld by dozens of courts that threw lawsuits from Trump and his supporters. The explosive growth of Parler in 2020 was in large part due to a willingness to offer users a platform that specifically does not limit language.
Several social media personalities banned elsewhere flocked to the site, including well known personalities like Fox News commentator Dan Bongino. When other social media companies finally took action in 2020 to flag or restrict posts after initially claiming they shouldn’t be held responsible for what their users say or do, Parler stayed largely open. The motto is: “Read the news. Speak freely. “
Another important social problem, Covid-19, has also been problematic on Parler since 2020. Anti-vaccine abuse, false claims about the science of the coronavirus, and other material are freely circulated on the platform.
The lawsuit cites a deal announced last month between AWS and Twitter that said the shift from Twitter users to Parler was a key driver of Parler’s growth. Last Friday, the day Twitter banned Trump, the Parler app installs rose 355%, according to the lawsuit.