In January, Parler sued Amazon after it was removed from being hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) following the January 6 U.S. Capitol disturbances, forcing the alterative social media platform offline. Parler then dropped the original lawsuit over its suspension on Tuesday before filing a new one in a Washington state court the same day, accusing Amazon of numerous contractual violations as well as anti-competitive behavior.
The lawsuit claims that, in withdrawing its services, Amazon attempted to “destroy an up-and-coming technology company through deceptive, defamatory, anti-competitive, and bad faith conduct.” Parler was down for a month before being able to negotiate a hosting contract with a private, Los Angeles-based firm, SkySilk, which said it is providing cloud infrastructure to the company.
“When companies are this big, it’s easy to be a bully,” the lawsuit said. “Many start-up companies that have appeared to be a threat to Amazon and (Amazon Web Services) have felt their wrath. Plaintiff Parler LLC is merely the latest casualty.”
A spokesman for AWS denied any political bias, saying there is “no merit” to any of Parler’s misconduct claims.
“AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow,” he said. “However, as shown by the evidence in Parler’s federal lawsuit, it was clear that there was significant content on Parler that encouraged and incited violence against others, which is a violation of our terms of service. Further, Parler was unable or unwilling to promptly identify and remove this content, which coupled with an increase in this type of dangerous violent content, led to our suspension of their services.”
Amazon sent a letter to Parler at the time of suspending the platform from its services, claiming that “we’ve seen a steady increase in … violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms.” Amazon also complained that, upon filing complaints about Parler’s content, the company does “remove some content … but not always with urgency.”
AWS pulled the plug on Parler after it failed to comply with Amazon’s request to “effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others,” rendering the company unable to remain active. Google and Apple also removed the app from their respective app stores.
Parler’s lawsuit alleges that Amazon employed a double standard when applying its content policy, requiring Parler to moderate user content to a greater degree than Twitter and Facebook, its main rivals.
According to the lawsuit, “in a review of the charging documents of the 223 individuals under investigation by the Department of Justice for the January 6 riot, it was disclosed that 73 of those documents reference Facebook – ‘far more references than other social networks’ – with Google-owned YouTube ‘the second most-referenced on 24,’ and “Instagram, a Facebook-owned company, was next on 20 (charging documents).”
Continuing, the lawsuit suggested that the prevalence of “violent content on Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other websites and apps” meant that “it is simply not accurate to suggest that Parler had or has a disproportionately large problem with such content.”
In addition to Parler itself being cancelled by the woke left, individual users have found themselves targeted, simply by opening accounts on the platform. Colleen Oefelein, a former agent at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, announced on Twitter that she had been fired after opening a Parler account on November 11.
YA Whispers, an anonymous Twitter account that claims to expose agents in the literary world who appear to violate their contract, tagged the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency’s Twitter account to Oefelein’s Parler tweet. By the end of January, Oefelein had lost her job.
The agency wrote that it was “distressed to discover” that one of its agents “has been using the social media platforms Gab and Parler,” both of which are commonly used by conservatives who are aware of being banned by left-leaning alternatives. “We do not condone this activity, and we apologize to anyone who has been affected or offended by this,” the agency added.
Oefelien wrote on her Twitter page: “Well thanks Twitter and @JDLitAgency. I just got fired because I’m a Christian and a conservative.”