Parler Files New Lawsuit Against Amazon, Alleging Anticompetitive Conduct
By Paul Ziobro
Parler LLC has filed a new lawsuit against Amazon.com Inc. as
the company continues its dispute with the tech giant for ending
web-hosting services for the social network.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington state court came as
Parler filed a motion to withdraw a case it brought against Amazon
in Seattle federal court in January. Parler had until Tuesday to
file an amended complaint after a federal judge denied the
company's bid to compel Amazon to resume service.
Similar to the federal lawsuit, Parler accused Amazon of ending
service to the social-media platform for anticompetitive reasons.
Gene Schaerr, a lawyer for Parler, said the lawsuit also aims to
"hold Amazon responsible for falsely attempting to make Parler the
scapegoat for the January 6 Capitol riot, and for the enormous
damage caused by Amazon's illegal actions."
Parler has come under scrutiny following the deadly Jan. 6
storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of supporters of
then-President Donald Trump. The platform served as a hub for
people alleged to have organized, participated in or celebrated the
attack, which occurred as lawmakers were meeting to certify
President Biden's electoral victory.
Representatives for Parler didn't immediately respond to
requests for comment.
An Amazon representative said that there was no merit to the new
claims, adding that Amazon "provides technology and services to
customers across the political spectrum."
Amazon has said Parler hosted a significant amount of content on
its platform that encouraged and incited violence against others,
violating its terms of service. Parler's inability or unwillingness
to identify and remove the content led Amazon to suspend service to
the company, the representative said.
After a weekslong service disruption, Parler resumed last month
with limited functionality after securing internet services hosted
by SkySilk Inc., which operates out of a Los Angeles-area data
center. Mark Meckler, Parler's interim chief executive, said that
the social network had grown to serve more than 20 million
Executives at the social network said at the time of the Capitol
riot that posts inciting violence violated its rules, though they
acknowledged that they were aware such content was on the platform
and others in the run-up to the attack. They said that Parler's
moderators were overwhelmed and often faced large backlogs in
handling offending posts.
Amazon was one of several vendors that cut ties with Parler
following the riot. Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google both
removed the social network from their respective app stores and
haven't reinstated it. Amazon's action was the most damaging to
Parler because it caused the platform to go dark as it looked for a
new company to host its operations.
Launched in 2018, Parler promotes itself as a platform for free
speech with looser content-moderation rules than larger platforms
like Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. Interest in the social network
surged around last year's presidential election, especially among
conservatives and other right-wing users who were upset with how
the other services policed speech.
Parler is backed by investors such as Republican donor Rebekah
Mercer, the daughter of hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer, and
conservative talk-show host Dan Bongino. The Mercers have
previously financed a number of conservative causes.
Write to Paul Ziobro at Paul.Ziobro@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 03, 2021 12:53 ET (17:53 GMT)
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