On Monday, the social media site Parler filed a lawsuit against Amazon, claiming that Amazon’s suspension of Parler violated antitrust laws and breached the contract between the two entities.
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.”
Amazon said Parler presented a “very real risk to public safety.”
The lawsuit filed by Parler starts 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.”
After noting that Twitter’s permanent ban on President Trump from its platform had catalyzed conservative users to move to Parler and that as a result “Parler became the number one free app downloaded from Apple’s App Store,” the lawsuit notes AWS’ announcement that it would suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59 PM PST.
“AWS was not confident Parler could properly police its platform regarding content that encourages or incites violence against others,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit points 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 claims 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.”
The lawsuit asks for a temporary restraining order against Amazon to stop it from “shutting down Parler’s account at the end of today.”
“Doing so is the equivalent of pulling the plug on a hospital patient on life support,” the suit reads. “It will kill Parler’s business—at the very time it is set to skyrocket.”
“The Apple and Google app stores — essentially the only places for Americans to download mobile apps — stopped carrying Parler over the weekend,” The Hill reported.