Amazon recently suspended social media platform Parler from its web servers, effectively shutting down their operations. Parler has now filed a lawsuit against Amazon, accusing the company of violating their contractual agreement as well as anti-trust laws. The lawsuit has asked a federal judge to reverse Amazon’s ban on the “free speech” platform.
In the lawsuit, Parler argues that Amazon’s ban is aimed at benefitting Twitter, a competitor and fellow customer of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Due to the ban, Parler’s business will suffer precisely at a time when its user base is seeing a rapid surge.
“Given the context of Parler’s looming threat to Twitter and the fact that the Twitter ban might not long muzzle the President if he switched to Parler, potentially bringing tens of millions of followers with him, AWS moved to shut down Parler… [AWS’s] death blow … could not come at a worse time for Parler — a time when the company is surging with the potential of even more explosive growth in the next few days,” says the lawsuit.
According to the Amazon Trust and Safety team, Parler has been suspended from its web hosting services as the platform “poses a very real risk to public safety.” This contradicts Big Tech social media platforms’ stance against Trump’s proposal to revoke Section 230, which protects social media platforms from being held liable for content their users post online.
By banning Parler, Amazon demonstrates that social media companies should be responsible for user content
According to Parler’s contract with Amazon, the latter is supposed to give 30 days’ notice before terminating the web hosting account. Due to the sudden ban, Parler’s future is uncertain. CEO John Matze says that Parler may not be available for up to a week and that the company might have to rebuild everything from scratch.
At present, the company is looking for suitable hosting services. The CEO noted that many alternative vendors have shut their doors after Amazon and other Big Tech firms like Apple released statements against the company. The Amazon ban also interferes with contracts that Parler has with its 12 million users. Earlier, Apple had suspended Parler from its App Store for not taking sufficient steps to address “threats of violence and illegal activity” by its users.
“They claim it is due to violence on the platform. The community disagrees as we hit number 1 on their store today. The same day ‘Hang Mike Pence’, a disgusting violent suggestion, was trending nationally on Twitter. Displaying the horrible double standard Apple and their big tech pack apply to the community… Apple, a software monopoly, provides no alternatives to installing apps on your phone other than their store. We do not own our phones, Apple simply rents them to us. Apple, Google and the rest of the anti-competitive pack of big tech tyrants coordinate their moves and work together to stifle competition in the marketplace,” Matze said in a statement.
Amy Peikoff, Chief Policy Officer at Parler, pointed out that the Big Tech collusion to take down Parler is dystopian, and that the company is being held to an impossible standard where the platform is supposed to scan every single piece of user content and ban those which are found to be objectionable. Republican David Nunes has asked for a racketeering investigation into the Big Tech companies following the ban, saying that their actions violate the RICO statute, antitrust, and civil rights.