Jan 12, 2021 - Technology

Amazon says violent posts prompted Parler shutdown

Illustration of an Amazon box with a boxing glove bursting out on a spring.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In a court filing late Tuesday, Amazon said it booted right-wing social network Parler from its AWS cloud service after flagging dozens of pieces of violent content starting in November.

Why it matters: Parler is suing Amazon, saying its expulsion violates antitrust laws. In its response, Amazon cites the violent content as well as its protection under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act among its defenses.

Details: Amazon said it first sent a letter on Nov. 17 with two examples of violent content and asked the company if such content violated Parler's rules and what the company was doing to moderate such content.

  • Over the next 7 weeks, Amazon said it flagged more than 100 pieces of content to Parler's chief policy officer, including threats directed specifically at members of Congress.

The big picture: Parler has found itself on the outs with nearly all its technology partners, including Twilio and Amazon, as well as Apple and Google, which have both removed the Parler app from their respective app stores.

What they're saying: In its lawsuit, Parler argued that Amazon conspired with Twitter to kneecap the service just as it was gaining traction.

  • Amazon responded that its actions were not about "suppressing speech or stifling viewpoints," nor about "a conspiracy to restrain trade."

Rather, Amazon said in the filing, "this case is about Parler’s demonstrated unwillingness and inability to remove from the servers of Amazon Web Services content that threatens the public safety, such as by inciting and planning the rape, torture, and assassination of named public officials and private citizens."

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