Parler accuses Amazon of cutting service over ‘political animosity’

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Social network Parler sued Amazon, arguing that its decision to cut web hosting services to the platform after the attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob supporting Donald Trump was illegal and violated antitrust laws.

Twitter’s niche rival, which is popular among the far-right for its practical approach to content moderation, was forced offline on Sunday after Amazon pulled its cloud services from the app, citing repeated failures in repression of content inciting violence. Google and Apple banned the application of their stores during the weekend on the same ground.

On Monday, Parler filed a lawsuit in Amazon’s home state of Washington, alleging that its web service’s decision was “motivated by political animosity” and “designed to reduce competition in the micro-blogging services for the benefit of Twitter ”.

Parler argued that Twitter, also an AWS customer, was losing market share to Parler due to its decision to block permanently Mr. Trump’s report on Friday.

Amazon did not respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit, which also included allegations of breach of contract.

In a letter to Parler on Saturday, AWS said its decision to shut down the app was prompted by repeated violations of its terms of service and Parler’s lack of any strategy to deal with “a constant increase in violent content. “.

“Parler clearly does not have an effective process for complying with the AWS Terms of Service,” the letter read.

Steps taken by a handful of private Silicon Valley companies to ‘exhaust’ the US president and his promotion machine have shone the spotlight on the political power they now hold, reigniting debates over antitrust and freedom. expression and dragging them into the fallout from the U.S. Capitol rampage.

The Twitter share price fell more than 6% on Monday to around $ 48 as investors were spooked by renewed debate over the prospect of tighter social media regulation.

The drop also reflected the end of the symbiotic relationship between the social media platform and Mr. Trump, who obsessively used it to broadcast directly to his 88 million subscribers, simultaneously drawing attention and users to the site.

Although much smaller, Parler, a self-proclaimed “impartial social media network” that claims to champion “free speech,” has climbed the app store rankings, receiving 9.6 million installs worldwide. in 2020, including about 7.8 million in the United States, according to SensorTower data.

Despite a post from the CEO of Speak Sunday suggesting the site had many alternative hosting options and would be back online within a week, the court record suggested that would not be possible.

“Parler tried to find alternative companies to host it and they failed. He has no other options. Without AWS, Talking is over because there is no way to connect. ”

Separately, on Monday, Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, said the platform had No project to lift its indefinite ban on Mr. Trump. Some critics have urged the company to follow Twitter to make the suspension permanent.

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