Parler sues Amazon for cutting service due to “political animosity”

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Social network Parler sued Amazon, arguing that the ecommerce group’s decision to cut web hosting services to the platform after the attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob supporting Donald Trump was illegal and violated antitrust laws.

Twitter’s niche rival, which is popular among the far-right for its practical approach to content moderation, was forced offline on Sunday after Amazon pulled its cloud services from the app, citing repeated failures in repression of content inciting violence. Google and Apple banned the app from their stores this weekend for the same reasons.

On Monday, Parler filed a lawsuit in Amazon’s home state, Washington, alleging that its Web Services division’s move was “driven by political animosity” and “designed to reduce competition in the marketplace. micro-blogging services for the benefit of Twitter ”.

The social network argued that Twitter, also an AWS client, was losing market share to Speak out over its decision to permanently block Mr. Trump’s account on Friday.

It comes as several tech groups, including Facebook and Airbnb, announced new emergency policies ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, amid growing fears that last week’s violence will recur.

In a statement, AWS said the lawsuit, which included allegations of breach of contract, was “without merit.”

In a letter to Speak on Saturday, AWS said its decision to shut down the app was driven by repeated violations of its terms of service and the social network’s lack of any strategy to deal with ” a steady increase in violent content ”.

“Parler clearly does not have an effective process for complying with the AWS Terms of Service,” the letter read.

Steps taken by a handful of private Silicon Valley companies to “deform” the US president and his promotion machine have shone the spotlight on the political power they now hold, reigniting debates over antitrust and freedom. expression and dragging them into the fallout from the US Capitol rampage.

Twitter’s share price fell 6.4% on Monday to $ 48.18 as investors were spooked by renewed debate over the prospect of tighter social media regulation.

The drop also reflected the end of the symbiotic relationship between the social media platform and Mr. Trump, who used it obsessively to broadcast directly to his 88 million subscribers, simultaneously drawing attention and users to the site. .

Twitter also said that he had suspended 70,000 accounts since Friday as part of his efforts to eliminate the promoters of the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy sect “with numerous examples of a single individual exploiting many accounts.” In some cases, the crackdown on the group, whose members were among those who attacked Capitol Hill, has reduced the number of followers of some Twitter users, he added.

Although much smaller than its rival Twitter, Parler, a self-proclaimed “impartial social media network” that claims to champion “free speech,” has climbed the app store rankings, receiving 9.6 million dollars. installations worldwide in 2020, including about 7.8 million in the United States, according to SensorTower data.

Despite a post from the CEO of Speak Sunday suggesting that the site had many alternative hosting options and would be back online within a week, the court record suggested that would not be possible.

“Parler tried to find alternative companies to host it and they failed. He has no other options. Without AWS, Talking is over because there is no way to connect. ”

Separately, Facebook on Monday announced a purge of all content related to “stop the theft” – a slogan referring to baseless allegations by Mr. Trump and his supporters that the presidential election was stolen – from its platform. -form.

He said the move was prompted by “continued attempts to organize events against the outcome of the US presidential election which may lead to violence, and the use of the term by those involved in the violence from Wednesday to Washington, ”adding that the crackdown could take some time. to fully apply.

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, also said the platform has no plans to lift its indefinite ban on Mr. Trump. Some critics have urged the company to follow Twitter to make the suspension permanent.

Ahead of next week’s inauguration, short-term rental site Airbnb said it would reference police logs and ban those identified as part of last week’s riots, in addition to its existing measures designed to prevent known members of hate groups, such as the Proud Boys, from using its service.



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