On Monday, responding to a story satirizing Big Tech censorship, Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and the CEO of Tesla and Space X, tweeted, “A lot of people are going to be super unhappy with West Coast high tech as the de facto arbiter of free speech.”
A lot of people are going to be super unhappy with West Coast high tech as the de facto arbiter of free speech
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 11, 2021
Musk’s tweet follows the removal of Parler on platforms including Amazon, Apple, and Google and reports of a “purge” of right-wing users on social media platforms.
Musk has evinced some conservative views for some time. In May 2020, he gave an indication of how fed-up he is with the leftist governance of what was then his home state of California, apparently urging followers on Twitter to join the conservatives of America as he tweeted succinctly, “Take the red pill.”
Take the red pill 🌹
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 17, 2020
In July 2020, he tweeted an attack on the father of communism, Karl Marx, writing, “Das Kapital in a nutshell,” followed by a picture of Marx with the statement in quasi-German, “Gib me dat for free.”
Das Kapital in a nutshell pic.twitter.com/mG44mMkitx
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 27, 2020
On January 7, Facebook announced it was banning President Trump’s account indefinitely. Twitter banned Trump’s account indefinitely on January 8, then banned him permanently on January 9, writing they had done so due to “risk of further incitement of violence.”
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter said in a statement. “In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action. Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.”
Apple and Google removed the Parler app from their app stores on Saturday; Amazon removed Parler from its cloud hosting service, Amazon Web Services, Sunday evening.
Reuters reported, “Amazon suspended Parler from its Amazon Web Services (AWS) unit for violating AWS’s terms of services by failing to effectively deal with a steady increase in violent content, according to an email by an AWS Trust and Safety team to Parler, seen by Reuters. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the letter was authentic.”
On Monday, Parler filed a lawsuit against Amazon which started by asserting, “Last month, defendant Amazon Web Services, Inc. (‘AWS’) and the popular social media platform Twitter signed a multi-year deal so that AWS could support the daily delivery of millions of tweets. AWS currently provides that same service to Parler, a conservative microblogging alternative and competitor to Twitter.”
The lawsuit pointed out, “However, Friday night one of the top trending tweets on Twitter was ‘Hang Mike Pence.’ But AWS has no plans nor has it made any threats to suspend Twitter’s account.”
The lawsuit claimed that “AWS’s decision to effectively terminate Parler’s account is apparently motivated by political animus. It is also apparently designed to reduce competition in the microblogging services market to the benefit of Twitter. Thus, AWS is violating Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act in combination with Defendant Twitter. AWS is also breaching its contract with Parler, which requires AWS to provide Parler with a thirty-day notice before terminating service, rather than the less than thirty-hour notice AWS actually provided. Finally, AWS is committing intentional interference with prospective economic advantage given the millions of users expected to sign up in the near future.”
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