Amazon is asking a federal judge to let it keep Parler offline, saying the conservative media site brushed aside appeals from the Amazon Web Services division that Parler police its violent content both before and after the Capitol insurrection.
The technology company’s legal appeal on Tuesday came in response to Parler’s lawsuit claiming antitrust violation and breach of contract after Amazon suspended Parler’s account, effectively banishing it from the internet.
Amazon Web Services booted Parler from its cloud services just after midnight Pacific time Monday, with the site unreachable online as of 4:30 a.m. ET. Amazon said it dropped Parler because it was not confident in the site’s ability to monitor content on its platform promoting or inciting violence.
“This case is not about suppressing speech or stifling viewpoints,” Amazon’s lawyers stated in a court filing. “Instead, this case is about Parler’s demonstrated unwillingness and inability to remove from the servers of Amazon Web Services (‘AWS’) content that threatens the public safety, such as by inciting and planning the rape, torture and assassination of named public officials and private citizens.”
Parler’s refusal to moderate content resulted in a “steady increase” in violent content on the network, breaching Amazon’s terms of service, AWS contended.
“First, Amazon must think they have a strong case here that would set a good precedent for them going forward. And second, Amazon wants the broader public — or at least the broader business community — to see their response here,” said Max Kornblith, co-founder and head of growth at FairShake, a company that helps consumers resolve disputes with service providers through the arbitration process.
He noted that Amazon’s standard customer agreement would likely have allowed them to move the lawsuit out of the public courts, had Amazon wanted that route.
The platform’s right-wing popularity spiked after the November election, and was viewed as a likely vehicle for President Donald Trump to reach his followers after being booted from most mainstream media platforms after Wednesday’s siege of the U.S. Capitol. In addition to the Amazon move, Google and Apple removed Parler from their app stores.
In its complaint filed Monday, Parler contended Amazon’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,” it alleged.
Amazon: We repeatedly warned Parler about violent content The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ CBS News.