Parler Goes Dark After Amazon Kicks Site Off Its Servers
By Sam Schechner
Social-media service Parler vanished just before midnight Sunday
Pacific time, when Amazon.com Inc. followed through on its threat
to stop hosting the public-messaging platform that has exploded in
popularity among supporters of President Trump.
The effective disappearance of Parler shows the growing breadth
and effect of efforts by big technology companies to restrict
content they label as dangerous after last week's mob attack on the
U.S. Capitol. Amazon had said in a letter to Parler over the
weekend that it had seen a steady increase in violent content on
the site and said Parler's efforts to remove it were
Parler's effective disappearance came shortly after Apple Inc.
and Alphabet Inc.'s Google removed the Parler app for mobile
devices from their app stores -- making it difficult for new users
to download -- without shutting down the service. Amazon's move had
a far more severe impact because it provides the back-end servers
that host Parler's website and databases, as it does for a large
array of other prominent companies.
Parler Chief Executive John Matze didn't respond to an email
sent to his parler.com email address, or to a message sent via his
LinkedIn profile. But he said in a post on Parler on Saturday that
it was possible the service would be unavailable for as long as a
week while it found new hosting services.
"This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill
competition in the marketplace," Mr. Matze wrote.
Parler executives have previously told The Wall Street Journal
that the company has been working to bolster its content-moderation
efforts. In recent days, they said, Parler doubled its team of
volunteer moderators -- called "jurors" -- to more than a thousand
and instructed them to search popular hashtags for incitement, a
more proactive approach than what was used previously. The company
also instructed its jurors to hunt down any content suggesting
violence within the comment sections of its more highly trafficked
sections, and planned to hire employees to bolster these efforts,
But tech companies told Parler they believed those efforts were
In a letter over the weekend, Amazon Web Services, the unit that
provides Amazon's cloud services, said Parler wasn't, in Amazon's
view, effectively able to remove content that encourages or incites
violence, in violation of Amazon policies. Following the attack on
the Capitol last week, the letter cited a risk that content on
Parler could incite further violence, and said it would suspend
Parler's account on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time. Amazon said
in the letter that it would preserve Parler's data and help it
migrate to different servers.
As of Monday morning, Parler's website address, parler.com, was
unreachable and users were using another microblogging platform --
Twitter -- to report that the app no longer functioned either.
Write to Sam Schechner at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 11, 2021 06:19 ET (11:19 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.