Parler, a conservative-friendly social media platform of more than ten million users, was effectively removed from the internet Sunday night after Amazon's Web Services terminated the platform from its cloud services. Prior to its termination, Apple and Google, who together possess nearly all of the OS market, removed Parler from their app stores.
How does this even happen?
Amazon, who provides web services to hundreds of thousands of businesses in 190 countries around the world, allows businesses like Parler to utilize Amazon's cloud computing to spin up hundreds or thousands of servers in minutes and deliver results faster. These companies are under the obligation to abide by Amazon's Acceptable Use Policy. While acceptable use policies are rarely enforced, Amazon terminated Parler's use of its servers for violating the company's policies, thus removing Parler from the internet in a matter of hours.
In suspending Parler from its web services, Amazon explained:
“Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms," the email reads. "It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service.”
“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. Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety. We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues,” reads a statement from the company on Saturday evening.
"We're aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US," a Google spokesperson said. "We recognize that there can be reasonable debate about content policies and that it can be difficult for apps to immediately remove all violative content, but for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content. In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app's listings from the Play Store until it addresses these issues."
John Matze, the founder and CEO, said in a statement on Monday that the Parler app would "likely be down longer than expected." Matze explained,
"This is not due to software restrictions — we have our software and everyone’s data ready to go. Rather it’s that Amazon’s, Google’s and Apple’s statements to the press about dropping our access has caused most of our other vendors to drop their support for us as well.”
Parler then filed a lawsuit today, alleging antitrust violations and lack of proper notice.
According to Parler’s lawsuit, Amazon’s contract required them to give Parler 30 days of notice before terminating their account. Parler says they were given less than 30 hours of notice.— Jordan Lancaster (@jordylancaster) January 11, 2021
BREAKING: Parler sues Amazon for antitrust violation, breach of contract and unlawful business interference. Asks federal judge to order Amazon to reinstate the platform— John Kruzel (@johnkruzel) January 11, 2021
Parler joins the ranks of many conservatives who have been suspended from social media platforms in recent weeks, even those who were banned for seemingly no reason.
With no explanation other than "repeatedly going against our community standards," @Facebook has blocked me from managing my page. Never have we received notice of violating community standards in the past and nowhere is the offending post identified. pic.twitter.com/EdMyW9gufa— Ron Paul (@RonPaul) January 11, 2021
Conservative voices have continued to speak out against the censorship of conservative voices taking place by big tech companies.
Twitter has censored the sitting U.S. President & has begun a huge crackdown on free speech while hiding behind its Section 230 protections. All this while letting the Ayatollah & the CCP spread dangerous propaganda on the platform. This is deeply disturbing for free speech.— Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (@RepDLesko) January 11, 2021
First, Democrats support government shutting down small business during #COVID19.— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) January 11, 2021
Now, Democrats support big business shutting down their competition.
We’d post this on Parler, but no one could see it.
The coming days will show how this unfolds, and the effect on free speech it will have will be seen in the months and years to come. RNLA will host a webinar on this later this week.