After Speaking was banned from the Apple and Google app stores for failing to curb violent and threatening content on its platform, the social media site is now completely offline following termination by Amazon Talking Web Hosting Services. Parler’s official website now returns a 403 error, while its app shows network errors and cannot load content.
Amazon informed Parler of its decision on Saturday night, in a letter to policy director Amy Peikoff. Its Amazon Web Service (AWS) “cannot provide services to a customer who is unable to identify and effectively remove content that encourages or incites violence against others,” the letter tells Peikoff, adding that Speak “Poses a very real risk to public safety. “
Talking messages that encouraged violence leading up to Wednesday’s attack on Capitol Hill, which left five dead, were broadcast on other platforms in the wake of the riot. An example: “take zip ties with you, sneak up on them like ninjas and tie their hands and feet”, to which another poster replied: “around their necks I can’t take it off in time, they die. “
In accordance with AWS ‘Acceptable Use Policy, customers may not use its services “for any unlawful, harmful, fraudulent, infringing, or offensive use.”
Parler was launched in 2018 promoting itself as a haven for free speech and an alternative to other social media sites. The site has seen its user count increase in recent months, as Twitter and Facebook tightened their moderation policies, especially around election news and coronaviruses. The “Stop the Steal” campaign challenging the loss of President Trump has gained momentum among Talk users, as have other election conspiracy theories. Parler’s less stringent moderation policies were part of its appeal to many users, but the lack of content moderation is a big part of the reasons companies have suspended their services.
When it removed Talk from the Play Store, Google said that while a reasonable debate about content policy was possible, and it might be difficult for apps to remove violent content immediately, “so that we can distribute a app through Google Play, we require apps to implement robust moderation for blatant content. Apple told the company that “the processes that Parler has put in place to moderate or prevent the distribution of dangerous and illegal content has proven insufficient.” Specifically, we continued to find direct threats of violence and calls for action without law. “
Even with the app removed from the Play Store, users can still install Speak on their Android devices by downloading it directly from the Speak website and loading it aside. However, with its AWS services now disabled, the website and apps no longer work.
Talking CEO John Matze – who according to his LinkedIn page worked for AWS for three months in 2017 – wrote in a post on Talking Saturday night that he believed Amazon, Google and Apple were “working together to try to make sure they don’t compete ”, adding“ They will NOT win! We are the worlds [sic] last hope for freedom of expression and information. ”
Matze said in a separate article that Parler could be offline for up to a week “as we rebuild from scratch”. Matze added: “You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue, but don’t count us. “
The social network Gab is perhaps the most famous recent example of a site misrepresented for violent content. After a gunman killed eleven people in a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, PayPal banned Gab from its platform, when it was revealed that suspect Robert Bowers posted anti-Semitic threats on Gab before the shooting. Apple rejected Gab’s request to appear in its App Store in 2016, and Twitter removed Gab’s access to its API. Google started the Gab app from its Play Store in 2017 for violating its hate speech policy, and AWS severed ties with Gab in 2019, for violating its hateful content policy.
Parler did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The edge.