Amazon informed Parler on Saturday that its lax approach to content moderation was a violation of the terms of service, Buzzfeed reports. As a result, Parler will be officially suspended from Amazon’s web hosting services starting around midnight Pacific Time Monday. The move will effectively take the site offline.
Speaking notably served as a playground for pro-Trump activities in Washington, DC that led to a riot and failed insurgency on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. In the days that followed, Google and then Apple took the step of removing the application from the social network from their respective application stores.
The two App Store removals are the result of the same problem: issues with Talking’s content moderation policies. Unlike Twitter, which the pro-Trump network draws on, Parler takes a largely participatory approach to monitoring user behavior. This has created a welcoming environment for Trump supporters who want to follow the president’s example in sowing chaos and undermining American democracy.
Amazon’s decision has a more direct impact on Parler than the App Store removals. There are plenty of workarounds for Android users who want an app that is not available on the Google Play Store. And Apple, by giving Speak a 24-hour window to implement its content moderation action, inadvertently led to a situation where the app exploded to the top of the App Store’s free app charts.
A web hosting suspension, on the other hand, makes Parler inaccessible until he can move into a new home. When the equally problematic 8chan message board lost its hosting provider in August 2019, it took several months before the site could get back online. However, it is perhaps too much to expect the same result here.
In the case of 8chan, the host that suspended the site – Epik – was already sort of a final shutdown, as Epik is known to have helped other websites get back online after they shut down for hateful behavior. But in this case, 8chan’s links to the devastating mass shootings of 2019 in El Paso and Dayton proved too important to Epik, almost certainly due to potential legal liabilities.
However, Talking is not there yet. Epik is the web host that a network like this could turn to after consumer options like AWS shut the door on continuous service. But Talking’s connection to the DC riot, which is still very recent, along with ongoing reports that this is still an active theater for tracing malicious behavior, could keep the site offline. at least until President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan.20.
Given reports that further violent actions could arise ahead of the inauguration – as Twitter made clear when Trump’s account was suspended on Friday – a Talk shutdown that will last beyond January 20 can only deter the threat. The network’s links to the DC riot should also give rise to any further web host hiatus until the site can establish some semblance of thoughtful and effective content moderation.