Amazon is removing Twitter and Facebook rival Parler the fast-growing social media network from its web hosting service as tech giants go after Trump and his supporters following Capitol events.
Parler founded in 2018, is used by millions of people as a social media alternative to Facebook and Twitter. Parler experienced a huge surge of interest on Friday, the day Apple and Google made moves to limit its reach, driving it to the top spot on Apple’s App Store.
Parler CEO John Matze responded with a post on the site, calling Amazon’s action “an attempt to completely remove free speech off the internet.” He said Parler could be unavailable for a week “as we rebuild from scratch.”
Due to Amazon’s action, Parler could go offline on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time unless it can find an alternative hosting platform. Amazon said it would preserve the company’s data and aid in the migration of data to different servers
This is coming as Apple has joined Google to removed Parler the conservative favoured platform from their stores, thus preventing users from downloading the app.
Amazon Web Services said Parler violated its terms of service due to an increase in violent content shared on the website. Amazon said it “cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others,” in an email sent to Parler.
“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 11:59 PM PST,” the email said.
According to Apple, “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety.”
Matze wrote in a message on his platform that 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.”
“They claim it is due to violence on the platform,” Matze wrote of Apple, whom he also accused of being a “software monopoly,” a particularly relevant attack right now given an ongoing antitrust suit against Apple from Fortnite maker Epic Games. “The community disagrees as we hit number 1 on their store today.”
Matze promised to share “more details about our next plans coming soon as we have many options.”
The interest in Parler grew since November as larger social-network operators such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. have become more aggressive in policing content. On Friday, Twitter banned President Trump’s account, sparking criticism from conservatives online who felt the effort was biased against them.
In the past few days, Parler doubled its team of volunteer moderators—called “jurors”—to more than a thousand and instructed them to search “hot” hashtags for incitement, a more proactive approach than what was used previously, said Jeffrey Wernick, Parler’s operating chief.
The company had also instructed its jurors to hunt down any content suggesting violence within the comment sections of its more highly trafficked sections and planned to hire employees to bolster these efforts, according to Amy Peikoff, chief policy officer of Parler.
By: Ifunanya Ikueze