Amazon offers several disturbing examples of the types of messages the company says it has “repeatedly” reported to a top Talking executive. In emails dated mid-November, representatives from AWS asked Talking’s policy director, Amy Peikoff, for more details on how the app moderates content.
The emails include screenshots of “potential hate speech and incitement to violence content” that was available on the app at the time. Examples include an article containing numerous racial slurs directed at Michelle Obama, as well as two articles containing the phrase “Kill them all.”
In a response two days later, Peikoff said the “Kill ’em All” comments were “forwarded to our regular contact for investigation.” Regarding the message on Obama, however, she notes that “however hateful it is, would not be considered a violation of our terms of service.” “Talking does not prohibit ‘hate speech’ as long as it would be protected by the First Amendment,” she wrote.
Amazon claims that in the seven weeks following the exchange, it “reported over 100 additional representative content advocating violence.” Amazon has included more than a dozen examples of posts it reported, including messages calling for the deaths of many tech executives and elected officials and calling for a civil war. Parler users also threatened teachers and law enforcement officials, Amazon says. “Speaking Herself admitted she had a backlog of 26,000 content reports that violate her (minimum) community standards that she had not yet reviewed,” the company wrote.
Talk filed a trial claiming antitrust violations against Amazon earlier this week. The company argued that Amazon was trying to help Twitter by going after Talk – a claim disputed by AWS.
The lack of robust moderation of the free speech app’s content has become a major obstacle to the service, which has gained notoriety for being popular among Republican lawmakers and supporters of Donald Trump. In addition to Amazon cutting it off, Apple and Google also cited the company’s content policies and the prevalence of violent threats on Parler, when they removed the app from their stores last week. Apple CEO Tim Cook said Talking would be allowed in the App Store if the app starts following Apple’s terms of service.