Social network Parler has sued Amazon, arguing that the ecommerce group’s decision to shut down web hosting services for the platform after the attack on the US Capitol by a mob supporting Donald Trump was illegal and in violation of the antitrust laws.
The niche rival Twitter, which is popular with the far right for its hands-off approach to content moderation, was forced offline on Sunday after Amazon pulled its cloud services from the app, citing repeated failure to tackle violent content. Google and Apple banned the app from their stores over the weekend for the same reason.
On Monday, Parler filed a lawsuit in Amazon’s home state of Washington, alleging that the move by the Web Services division was “motivated by political animus” and “intended to reduce competition in the microblogging services market in favor of Twitter” .
The social network alleged that Twitter, also a client of AWS, lost market share to Parler as a result of the 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 Jan. 20, as fears are growing that last week’s violence could repeat.
In a statement, AWS said the lawsuit, which included allegations of breach of contract, was “without merit.”
In a letter to Parler on Saturday, AWS had said its decision to shut down the app was prompted by repeated violations of its terms of service and a lack, on the part of the social network, of any strategy to deal with “a steady increase in violent content “.
“It is clear that Parler does not have an effective process for complying with AWS terms of service,” the letter read.
Changes by a handful of private Silicon Valley companies to “ de-platform ” the U.S. President and his promotional machine have shed light on the political power they now have, rekindling debates on antitrust and freedom of speech and embroil the fallout from the US Capitol frenzy.
Twitter’s stock price fell 6.4 percent to $ 48.18 on Monday as investors were shocked by the renewed debate over the prospect of tougher social media regulations.
The decline also reflected the end of the symbiotic relationship between the social media platform and Mr. Trump, who obsessively used it to broadcast directly to his 88 million followers while drawing attention and users to the site.
While much smaller, Parler, a self-proclaimed “ unbiased social media network ” that claims to advocate for “ freedom of expression, ” had skyrocketed the app store’s rankings, receiving 9.6 million installs worldwide by 2020, of which about 7.8 million in the U.S. according to data from SensorTower.
Despite a message from Parler’s CEO on Sunday that the site had many options for alternative hosting and that the site would be back online within a week, the court suggested that this would not be possible.
Parler has been trying to find alternative companies to host it and they have fallen through. It has no other options. Without AWS, Parler is done because there is no way to go online. ”
Separately, Facebook on Monday announced a removal of all content related to “stop stealing” – a slogan referring to baseless allegations by Mr Trump and his supporters that the presidential election had been stolen – from its platform.
It said the move was prompted by “ongoing efforts to host events against the outcome of the US presidential election that could lead to violence, and the use of the term by those involved in Wednesday’s violence in DC,” adding admit that the crackdown could take some time. to enforce completely.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, also said the platform had no plans to lift Trump’s indefinite ban. 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 existing measures designed to prevent known members of hate groups such as the Proud guys, of the use of his service.