Now that the social media platform Parler has gone dark after Amazon, Apple and other service providers cut them off for their failure to prohibit violent speech, the site’s CEO John Matze says it may never return.
“It could be never,” Matze told Reuters. “We don’t know yet.”
Matze later told Reuters after they published the article that he is optimistic the site will find a home somewhere.
“I am an optimist. It may take days, it may take weeks but Parler will return and when we do we will be stronger,” he added.
Though Matze claimed that Amazon shut Parler out overnight and without warning, Amazon claims the site already had a tumultuous relationship with the company going back to summer.
Amazon cut off the social media platform, which styles itself as a “free-speech” space and is favored by supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump, from its servers this weekend for failing to effectively moderate violent content.
In the interview, Matze said its relationship with Amazon appeared to deteriorate overnight and without much warning, an assessment that Amazon disputes in legal filings.
As late as this summer, Amazon invited Parler to join an initiative to connect it with potential investors, Matze said, which was independently confirmed by a source who characterized the offer as standard for startup customers.
Amazon later ended the program and did not secure funding for Parler, the source said. Matze said the company did not need more funding at the time.
By November, however, Amazon had received reports that Parler hosted threatening content in what it says breached the companies’ agreement, according to an Amazon legal filing. Amazon flagged over 100 examples to a Parler executive, such as content exhorting people to “Form MILITIAS now and acquire targets,” the filing said.
In the lawsuit filed by Parler against Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), the company claimed that Amazon specifically de-platformed Parler as an act of political silencing, noting that Twitter was known to have equally violent content on its site.
“AWS was not confident Parler could properly police its platform regarding content that encourages or incites violence against others,” the lawsuit stated. “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.”
“AWS’s decision to effectively terminate Parler’s account is apparently motivated by political animus,” the lawsuit continued. “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.”