- Amazon on Tuesday responded to a lawsuit filed by Parler accusing the technology giant of violating antitrust laws by banning the controversial social media platform from using Amazon Web Services.
- In its response, Amazon claimed that Parler violated its contract by refusing to remove more than 100 examples of violent content, including death threats against prominent Democrats, Republicans, technical leaders and supporters of Black Lives Matter.
- Amazon also cited section 230 as part of its defense against Parler’s allegations that Amazon conspired with Twitter to harm Parlor’s business by kicking it out of AWS.
- Major technology companies, including Apple and Google, broke ties with Parler this week during revelations that right-wing extremist rebels used the social media platform to organize and encourage violence at the US Capitol.
- Visit the Business Insider website for more stories.
Amazon filed its response Tuesday to an antitrust case brought by Parler, arguing that the original social media refused to remove violent content from its platform violated its contract and that Parler had not proved any antitrust claims.
Parler sued Amazon on Monday after the tech giant launched the platform from its web hosting service, Amazon Web Services, amid public outcry over Parler̵
“This case is not about suppressing speech or stifling views. It is not about a conspiracy to restrict trade,” Amazon argued in court. “Instead, this case is about Parliament’s demonstrated unwillingness and inability to remove … content that threatens public safety, such as inciting and planning the rape, torture and murder of named public officials and private citizens.”
Parler did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
Amazon cited more than a dozen examples of content sent to Parler that it said was in violation of Amazon’s policies.
“We must fight in a civil war on January 20, form MILITIAS now and acquire targets,” said one post according to the document, while another reads: “White people need to ignite their racial identity and count down suffering and death like a hurricane. . “
Other mentioned Parler positions included death threats against prominent Democrats such as former President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet.
Parler users also targeted people of color, Black Lives Matter activists, Jews, teachers, media, and professional sports leagues, including the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL.
Read more: Pearls have been beaten offline for not moderating threats. Screenshots show what the Capitol Rebel supporters posted before, during and after the unrest.
“There is no legal basis in AWS’s customer agreements or otherwise to compel AWS to host content of this nature,” Amazon said, adding that it had repeatedly notified Parler “beginning in mid-November 2020 of content that violated the terms of the two companies’ contract, but that Parler “was both unwilling and unable” to remove it.
Amazon also pushed back against Parlor’s claims that Amazon’s actions were politically motivated, violating antitrust laws by deliberately favoring Twitter, which also uses AWS, and not taking similar actions against it.
“AWS does not host Twitter’s feed, so of course it could not have suspended access to Twitter’s content,” Amazon said in the filing, noting that Twitter eventually blocked the violent content while Parler refused to take similar steps.
Amazon also cited Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives companies operating an “interactive computer service” the legal right to remove content they deem appropriate.
Read more: Inside Parler’s rapid and mysterious rise, the Twitter option ‘freedom of speech’, which created a platform for conservatives by burning the Silicon Valley script
Parls have emerged in recent months as mainstream social media sites have been under increasing pressure to crack down on hate speech, misinformation and incitement to violence.
Following the U.S. presidential election in November, Trump supporters flocked to alternative social networks, including Parler, to plan election protests after Facebook and other sites banned groups pushing baseless conspiracies. From November 3 to November 9, Parler was downloaded about 530,000 times in the United States, according to data from Apptopia.
When a pro-Trump mob violently seized the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday in an attack that left five dead, the armed insurgents used Parler and other conservatively crooked social media apps to organize. Apptopia told Business Insider that Parler downloads peaked at around 323% of their average weekly volume as of October.
But as revelations have surfaced describing how the rebels geared Parler to carry out last week’s attacks, major technology companies have been under pressure to cut ties. Apple and Google both pulled the app from their app stores earlier this week, and Parler was forced to migrate its web hosting to Epik – a domain registrar known to host extremist extremist content – after launching from AWS.