Amazon pushes social media app Parler offline after Capitol attack

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 11 2021 01:45 AM

Amazon pushes social media app Parler offline after Capitol attack 1
Amazon Web Services logo. Reuters file photo

SAN FRANCISCO, United States - Amazon will suspend Parler, the tech giant confirmed Saturday, sending the social media network offline after it was banned by Apple and Google for allowing "threats of violence" in the wake of a deadly riot at the US Capitol.

The Parler social network has become a haven for conservatives who say they have been censored by other social media platforms.

It had soared in popularity in recent months, becoming the No. 1 free app on Apple's App Store on Saturday after the much larger Twitter decided to permanently ban US President Trump from its platform for his role in inciting violence at the Capitol.

Messages of support for the Wednesday's rioters along with calls for new demonstrations had flourished on the platform, leading Google to remove it from its app store on Friday, followed by Apple on Saturday.

Amazon then moved to wipe it from its cloud hosting Amazon Web Services, pushing it offline entirely.

In a letter to Parler first published by Buzzfeed, Amazon said the network was not acting quickly enough against violent content on the platform.

"We've seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms of service," the letter, the contents of which were confirmed to AFP by Amazon, said. 

Given the riot at the Capitol this week, the letter continued, there was a "serious risk that this type of content will further incite violence."

It will suspend the account just before midnight Pacific Standard Time on Sunday (0759 GMT Monday). 

As the group hosts Parler's data on its cloud service, this should prevent it from functioning, at least temporarily. 

THREATS OF VIOLENCE

The founder of Parler, John Matz, confirmed on his profile that there was a possibility the network would be unavailable "for up to a week" as it searches for a new host. 

"We will try our best to move to a new provider right now," he said. 

Amazon's decision has much more far-reaching impact than the moves by Google and Apple. 

They had made it more complicated to download the Parler app, but users could still access it if it was already downloaded or if they were using an internet browser.

"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," Apple said in a statement Saturday.

"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."

Google pulled Parler from its app store for allowing "egregious content" that could incite deadly violence like that seen at the Capitol.

Angry Trump supporters swarmed the building on Wednesday as lawmakers met to certify Joe Biden's November 3 election win, leaving five people -- including a policeman -- dead.

Other mainstream social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitch have also suspended Trump following the attack on the Capitol.

Matze has said the platform has "many options" for moving ahead.

Parler started in 2018 and was initially a home for the extreme right, but now it attracts more traditional conservative voices including Republican lawmakers.