- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The anti-Big Tech social media app Parler asked a federal court to stop Amazon from ‘pulling the plug’ on its business by booting the platform off its servers. Parler alleges Amazon’s decision was political and violated federal antitrust law and the companies’ contract.

Amazon’s web hosting service booted Parler on Sunday, prompting Parler to file the lawsuit in Seattle-based federal court saying Amazon Web Services’ action was “the equivalent of pulling the plug on a hospital patient on life support.”

“It will kill Parler’s business—at the very time it is set to skyrocket,” said Parler in the lawsuit. 

Parler’s lawsuit filed on Monday alleged that Amazon’s decision would benefit Twitter and claimed that the crackdown was “apparently designed to reduce competition in the microblogging services market to the benefit of Twitter.”

Amazon’s correspondence with Parler before the platform was kicked off the server is included in Parler’s lawsuit and shows Amazon saying it reported 98 posts to Parler that encourage and incite violence. 

“Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms,” said Amazon Web Services Trust & Safety team in an email to Parler included in the lawsuit. “It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service. It also seems that Parler is sll trying to determine its position on content moderation. You remove some violent content when contacted by us or others, but not always with urgency.”

The Amazon email sent on Saturday references the riot at the U.S. Capitol as “unfortunate events” in Washington, D.C., last week that leads Amazon to conclude the serious risk of future incitement to violence will occur. 

After Twitter banned President Trump, many of his supporters turned toward other social mediums including Parler. Apple and Google subsequently removed Parler from their app stores, and then Amazon took Parler offline. 

Parler’s suit seeks an emergency temporary restraining order against Amazon to stay online. Amazon has told the federal court it intends to respond to the lawsuit on Tuesday. 

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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