What is happening: Speak, a site that bills itself as a “free speech social network” and which was used extensively to coordinate the storming of the Capitol last week, has been taken offline after Amazon shut it down. ‘host Sunday evening, citing violations of terms of service.
Why?: Buzzfeed obtained a copy of the email from Amazon advising Speak of the decision. He said, “Recently we have seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, which violates all of our terms. It is clear that Parler does not have an effective process for complying with the AWS Terms of Service. Talking had come under increasing pressure over the weekend as Google and then Apple removed its app from their app stores due to its role as a platform used to plan violent and illegal acts and its reluctance to moderate the site more rigorously.
About Speak: Speak launched in 2018 as a virtually unmoderated version of Facebook and Twitter. It was originally a fringe website, but it has seen user numbers increase rapidly in recent weeks following Biden’s election victory. Its main investor is from the right mega-honorable Rebekah Mercer. It has become a safe haven for members of hate groups, conspirators, and people who have been banned elsewhere online. Violence is regularly discussed openly. For example, conversations on Speak have called for Vice President Mike Pence to be executed.
Tech takes a stand: The push to exclude Talking from mainstream platforms comes as the tech industry as a whole appears to have reached the end of its merger with Trump and his more violent supporters. Asset has now been banned by Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, Google, Snapchat, Instagram, Reddit, Twitch, Shopify, TikTok and Pinterest. Stripe also has stopped processing payments for his campaign website.
What’s next for Talking: It’s entirely possible that another hosting company will step in and offer to host Speak now that it has been discontinued by Amazon. 8chan, a website used by mass shooters to post videos and manifestos, was banned by hosting company Cloudflare in 2019. He was back online in a few weeks.