Amazon sued for removing social network Parler from AWS

Amazon sued for removing social network Parler from AWS
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So-called “free speech” social network Parler is suing Amazon for removing it from Amazon Web Services (AWS) for violating its rules.

Parler has filed a case with a federal judge to force Amazon to bring it back to the tech giant’s AWS cloud computing service. The platform, which styles itself as a Twitter alternative, is popular among supporters of US President Donald Trump.

Removal from AWS

Amazon announced that it removed Parler from AWS because it discovered 98 posts on the site encouraging violence.

In a letter to Parler’s Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff, Amazon’s AWS Trust and Safety team pointed out that the social network “does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service”.

The letter stated: “AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we continue to respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow on its site.”

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“However we cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others. Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account,” the team added.

“Free speech” social network

Parler claims to be an “unbiased” social media network and is favored by conservatives and people banned from Twitter. It was launched in 2018 and proved to be popular among supporters of US President Donald Trump and right-wing conservatives, who accuse Twitter and Facebook of unfair censorship of their views.

President Trump is not a user of the app but several high-profile personalities have been using Parler since its surge in popularity in 2020. On the platform, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has 4.9 million followers while Fox News host Sean Hannity’s followers amount to seven million.

Parler’s legal complaint

In its complaint, Parler stated: “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.”

In response to Parler’s allegations, Amazon said: “There is no merit to these claims.”

The tech giant explained: “AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow. However, it is clear that there is significant content on Parler that encourages and incites violence against others, and that Parler is unable or unwilling to promptly identify and remove this content, which is a violation of our terms of service.”

“We made our concerns known to Parler over a number of weeks and during that time we saw a significant increase in this type of dangerous content, not a decrease, which led to our suspension of their services Sunday evening,” Amazon emphasized.

Apple and Google have also removed Parler from their platforms in a span of just over 24 hours.

Apple said it will not lift the suspension as long as the network continued to spread posts that incite violence. The company said: “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these treats to people’s safety.”

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