Parler, the far right’s answer to Twitter, is suing Amazon Web Services (AWS) after the cloud-hosting service cut off the controversial social network.
In a complaint filed today in a Washington State court, Parler called for a temporary restraining order that would prevent Amazon from booting it from its hosting service, accusing AWS of suspending its services out of “political animus” rather than public safety concerns. The complaint, citing a deal between Twitter and the hosting behemoth, alleges violations of antitrust law.
In response to Parler’s filing, a spokesperson for Amazon dismissed the legal case against AWS and said it had made its concerns known to Parler weeks in advance of the ban on Sunday evening.
“There is no merit to these claims,” said the spokesperson. “However, it is clear that there is significant content on Parler that encourages and incites violence against others, and that Parler is unable or unwilling to promptly identify and remove this content, which is a violation of our terms of service.”
Parler did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a letter over the weekend, AWS notified Parler that it would no longer provide services over violations of its terms of service and the increase of “violent content” on the website. Parler claims that Amazon is not exercised by Parler's inability or unwillingness to keep calls for violence off its platform counters but by the threat it poses to Twitter, and that this is a violation of its contract and of antitrust law.
“(AWS) and the popular social media platform Twitter signed a multi-year deal so that AWS could support the daily delivery of millions of tweets,” the complaint says. “AWS currently provides that same service to Parler, a conservative microblogging alternative and competitor to Twitter.”
Parler claims that after Twitter banned the president from its website, rightwing users began fleeing to Parler, making it the “number one free app downloaded from Apple’s App Store” and challenging Twitter’s userbase, and that the move by AWS prevents its app from being downloaded by new users, akin to “pulling the plug on a hospital patient on life support.”
“It will kill Parler’s business—at the very time it is set to skyrocket,” Parler said in the filing.
Following the riot on Capitol Hill, Parler— one of the online platforms used by “Stop the Steal” organizers of the march that turned into a violent coup attempt—was banned from the Google Play and the Apple App Store.