Amazon Shuts Down Parler's Servers, Apple Bans App
Big Tech launches coordinated effort against free speech social media
Big Tech has launched an apparently coordinated attack against social media platform Parler after conservatives started flocking to the service following the widespread de-platforming effort against President Donald Trump from the leading rivals.
Amazon is booting Parler off its web hosting servers Amazon Web Services (AWS), which will knock the platform offline on Sunday until it can find a new host.
AWS says that content on the free speech-focussed social media site violates its terms of service.
The company adds that it does not believe Parler has a good strategy for cracking down on speech on its platform, according to an email obtained by BuzzFeed News.
“Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms,” Jeff Bezos-owned Amazon said in its email to Parler, a popular alternative to Twitter.
“It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service.”
“It also seems that Parler is still trying to determine its position on content moderation,” the email added.
“You remove some violent content when contacted by us or others, but not always with urgency.”
The email continues as follows:
Your CEO recently stated publicly that he doesn’t “feel responsible for any of this, and neither should the platform.”
This morning, you shared that you have a plan to more proactively moderate violent content, but plan to do so manually with volunteers.
It’s our view that this nascent plan to use volunteers to promptly identify and remove dangerous content will not work in light of the rapidly growing number of violent posts.
This is further demonstrated by the fact that you still have not taken down much of the content that we’ve sent you.
Given the unfortunate events that transpired this past week in Washington, D.C., there is serious risk that this type of content will further incite violence.
“[W]e cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others,” the email added.
“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 effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST.”
On Saturday night, Apple also pulled Parler from its App Store just hours after warning the company that it wasn’t doing enough to monitor speech.
“We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” Apple said in a statement Saturday, according to the New York Times.
“Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety.”
Apple’s statement on the matter: pic.twitter.com/o2sWiVjiHI— Brian Fung (@b_fung) January 10, 2021
“Parler has not upheld its commitment to moderate and remove harmful or dangerous content encouraging violence and illegal activity, and is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines,” Apple said in a statement tweeted by CNN reporter Brian Fung.
Parler CEO John Matze criticized the decision in a statement posted to Parler Saturday night.
“Apple will be banning Parler until we give up free speech, institute broad and invasive policies like Twitter and Facebook and we become a surveillance platform by pursuing guilt of those who use Parler before innocence,” he said.
“Apple, Google, and the rest of the anti-competitive pack of big tech tyrants coordinate their moves and work together to stifle competition in the marketplace,” Matze said.
“More details about our next plans coming soon as we have many options.”
Apple first threatened to remove the app Friday, telling the platform – which was trending as the No. 1 app as of Saturday morning – that they had 24 hours to submit a detailed moderation plan to curb any material that could incite violence, Reuters reported.
Apple told the app to “remove all objectionable content from your app … as well as any content referring to harm to people or attacks on government facilities now or at any future date,” according to the report.
The move comes hours after Google banned the app from its Play Store.
Google cited the app’s alleged insufficient monitoring of content posted on the site.
JUST IN: Google suspending Parler from the Google Play store pic.twitter.com/Nyv59LoNWh— Cristiano Lima (@viaCristiano) January 9, 2021
Conservative users flocked to Parler in recent days after Twitter permanently banned President Trump, citing the potential for “further incitement of violence” after the storming of the Capitol Building Wednesday which led to five deaths and approximately 80 arrests.
After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.https://t.co/CBpE1I6j8Y— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 8, 2021
Parler is already home to several Republican lawmakers and high-profile figures in conservative media, as well as members of President Trump’s family.