Amazon isn’t about to apologize for pulling the plug on Parler!
Over the weekend, the tech giant suspended the pro-Donald Trump (who, btw, was impeached *again* on Wednesday!) social network from its web-hosting service, stating that Parler had violated its terms of service due to its lack of content moderation.
Predictably, Parler didn’t go down without a fight: the app filed a lawsuit against Amazon on Monday, claiming that its suspension was “politically” motivated and unwarranted. But Amazon has now defended its decision, and it claims that Parler had to be given the boot from the web, because the app was “unwilling” to remove VERY unsettling content generated by its users.
And Jeff Bezos‘ boys brought the scary receipts.
In new legal filings, Amazon Web Services (AWS) alleged that Parler refused to “remove content that incites and plans the rape, torture, and assassination of named public officials,” after users allegedly called for Barack Obama, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Nancy Pelosi to “fry.” Another Parler user allegedly dubbed Stacey Abrams as “good target practice.” Ugh. Another, more specific post allegedly read:
“We are going to fight in a civil War on Jan.20th, Form MILITIAS now and acquire targets.”
Pretty much what you’d expect with the worst of Twitter and Facebook taking their ball of hate and going home.
And these weren’t just outliers. This type of violent, seditionist rhetoric is what the bulk of discussions were like, apparently. The legal docs note:
“Friday night one of the top trending tweets on Twitter was ‘Hang Mike Pence.’”
As you’ll recall the crowd who stormed the Capitol last week had a homemade gallows reputedly for just that purpose. Scary stuff.
Parler can’t say they weren’t given a warning either. These types of threats were apparently FLAGGED by Amazon, but Parler reportedly refused to take them down!
The web titan went on to site Section 230 as a defense in their decision to scrub the site. Section 230 allows social platforms to moderate their services by getting rid of posts that are obscene or violate the services’ own standards, as long as the platform is acting in “good faith.” Amazon noted:
“That is precisely what AWS did here: removed access to content it considered ‘excessively violent’ and ‘harassing.’”
Calling Parler’s lawsuit “meritless,” Amazon’s filing explained:
“This case is not about suppressing speech or stifling viewpoints. It is not about a conspiracy to restrain trade. Instead, this case is about Parler’s demonstrated unwillingness and inability to remove from the servers of Amazon Web Services (‘AWS’) content that threatens the public safety, such as by inciting and planning the rape, torture, and assassination of named public officials and private citizens.”
The web giant listed more examples of violent messages they flagged to Parler, including threats to its CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. A post allegedly read:
“Death to @zuckerberg @realjeffbezos @jackdorsey @pichai.”
Another alleged post said:
“After the firing squads are done with the politicians the teachers are next.”
The teachers?! WTF??
Amazon noted in its filing that suspending Parler was a “last resort.” And as far as it being a political decision? Well, that’s kind of on Parler itself. Although the app is technically a non-partisan company, it had become a hub for Trump supporters and QAnon conspiracy theorists who were kicked off platforms like Facebook and Twitter. That’s what you get when your big selling point is not remove users for hate speech.
What do U think about this one, Perezcious readers?
[Image via AWS/YouTube]