Parler Sues Amazon After Tech Giant Kicks Site Off Its Servers -- Update
By Keach Hagey
Social-media platform Parler has sued Amazon.com Inc. after the
tech giant abruptly ended web-hosting services to the company,
effectively halting its operation.
In a complaint filed Monday in Seattle federal court, Parler
alleged that Amazon Web Services kicked the company off its cloud
servers for political and anti-competitive reasons. The
conservative social network founded in 2018 exploded in popularity
among supporters of President Trump after the November U.S.
"AWS's decision to effectively terminate Parler's account is
apparently motivated by political animus. It is also apparently
designed to reduce competition in the microblogging services market
to the benefit of Twitter," according to the complaint, which also
accused Amazon of breaching a contract between the parties.
Amazon said Saturday that it would cut off Parler because it
wasn't confident in its ability to sufficiently police content on
its platform that incites violence. The company said while it would
no longer provide web services to Parler after Sunday at 11:59 p.m.
Pacific time, it would preserve the platform's data and help it
migrate to different servers.
In its complaint, Parler also accused Amazon of applying a
double standard than with other platforms, noting that Twitter had
recently signed a multi-year web-hosting deal with the company.
Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The situation with 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 inadequate.
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.
"As more of a libertarian, more of a minimal government type of
person, I hate relying on the legal system," Parler Chief Executive
John Matze told The Wall Street Journal Sunday in an interview. "I
know we have to."
Mr. Matze said in a Parler post on Saturday that it was possible
the service would be unavailable for as long as a week while it
found new hosting services.
Parler executives have previously told the 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, they
But tech companies told Parler they believed those efforts were
Jeff Horwitz and Sam Schechner contributed to this article.
Write to Keach Hagey at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 11, 2021 14:15 ET (19:15 GMT)
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