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Amazon, Apple, and Google purge Parler from platforms in continued censorship of social media apps

By Mario Lotmore  |  Lynnwood Times Staff

  • Amazon will suspend Parler, a free speech social media app, from its web hosting platform effective 11:59PM PST on Sunday, January 10.
  • Apple removed the Parler app from its App Store late Saturday night on January 9.
  • Google suspended Parler from its Google Play store on Friday, Jan. 8

What started with the “indefinite” ban on President Donald J Trump’s Facebook account on Thursday, Jan 7, and a permanent suspension of the President’s Twitter account the next evening, has now developed into an all-out assault on social media against free speech outlets.

Parler, a free speech social media app founded in 2018, is an alternative to Twitter. The company has over 10 million users of which 4 million are active users.  Within the last 24-hours, it was the No. 1 downloaded app in Apple’s App Store.

The call to deplatform Parler comes after a mob attack Wednesday on the U.S. Capitol by a mix of possible Antifa rioters disguised as pro-Trump supporters and pro-Trump supporters – an active investigation is currently underway by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Capitol Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in cooperation with various local law enforcement agencies around the country.

A group of Amazon employees called, Amazon Employees For Climate Justice, tweeted early Saturday morning, “We demand Amazon deny Parler services until it removes posts inciting violence.” Amazon provides the infrastructure from which Parler operates.

Hours later, Amazon complied with the group’s request.  Stating it’s reason for the termination of services in its letter to Parler, “We cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others.”

Below is Amazon’s letter to Parler in full.

Dear Amy,

Thank you for speaking with us earlier today.

As we discussed on the phone yesterday and this morning, we remain troubled by the repeated violations of our terms of service. Over the past several weeks, we’ve reported 98 examples to Parler of posts that clearly encourage and incite violence. Here are a few examples below from the ones we’ve sent previously: [See images above.]

Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms. It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service. It also seems that Parler is still trying to determine its position on content moderation. You remove some violent content when contacted by us or others, but not always with urgency. Your CEO recently stated publicly that he doesn’t “feel responsible for any of this, and neither should the platform.” This morning, you shared that you have a plan to more proactively moderate violent content, but plan to do so manually with volunteers. It’s our view that this nascent plan to use volunteers to promptly identify and remove dangerous content will not work in light of the rapidly growing number of violent posts. This is further demonstrated by the fact that you still have not taken down much of the content that we’ve sent you. Given the unfortunate events that transpired this past week in Washington, D.C., there is serious risk that this type of content will further incite violence.

AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we continue to respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow on its site. However, we cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others. Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST. We will ensure that all of your data is preserved for you to migrate to your own servers, and will work with you as best as we can to help your migration.

– AWS Trust & Safety Team

Amazon suspending Parler’s account means that once the ban takes effect on Sunday, Parler will go offline.  Parler CEO John Matze, posted in a statement on Parler that its services may be offline “for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch.” 

Matze denounced the action by Amazon as a “coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place.”

Below is Matze’s full post on Parler.

Sunday (tomorrow) at midnight Amazon will be shutting off all of our servers in an attempt to completely remove free speech off the internet. There is the possibility Parler will be unavailable on the internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch. We prepared for events like this by never relying on amazons proprietary infrastructure and building bare metal products.

We will try our best to move to a new provider right now as we have many competing for our business, however Amazon, Google and Apple purposefully did this as a coordinated effort knowing our options would be limited and knowing this would inflict the most damage right as President Trump was banned from the tech companies.

This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place. We were too successful too fast. You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue, but don’t count us out.

On Friday, Google removed Parler from its Play Store because it had not done enough to “implement robust moderation for egregious content.”  Apple also warned Parler to put in better moderation or its iOS app will be removed from Apple’s app store.

On January 9, Apple removed Parler from its App Store stating, “We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity. Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety. We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues.”

Parler users will still be able to use Parler on their iPhones after the App Store ban takes effect, however, Parler will not be able to distribute updates through Apple’s services.

If you can’t wait for Parler to migrate to a new web hosting provider, Gab announced that it is increasing capacity by bringing ten new servers online. Gab was the first free speech alternative to Twitter and allows all legal content except pornography. Gab maintains its own physical servers to avoid censorship from web hosting providers.  For more information, visit Gab.com.

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