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Parler Goes Dark

Parler's partners yanked the plug, accusing it of hosting violent content that contributed to last week’s Capitol Hill riot.

As a result, the Platform Favored by Trump Fans Struggles for Survival.

Parler launched in 2018 as a freewheeling social-media site for users fed up with the rules on Facebook and Twitter, and it quickly won fans from supporters of President Trump. On Monday, it went dark, felled by blowback over its more permissive approach. Inc. abruptly ended web-hosting services to the company, effectively halting its operations, prompting Parler to sue Amazon in Seattle federal court. Other tech partners also acted, crippling operations. 

Driving the decision was last week’s mob attack on the U.S. Capitol. On the afternoon of the riot, Amazon warned executives from Parler it had received reports the social-media platform was hosting “inappropriate” content, and that Parler had 24 hours to address it.

Within two days of that correspondence, Amazon announced it was booting Parler from its cloud platform, joining Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc. in pulling the plug on the service. Other vendors turned their backs, too: Twilio Inc. cut off Parler’s two-factor authentication system, preventing it from weeding out fake new accounts, and Okta Inc. locked Parler out of key enterprise software tools.

On Dec. 14, Amazon flagged four posts to Parler, saying the content “clearly encourages or incites people to commit violence against others,” which was a violation of its terms of service, according to an email reviewed by the Journal. One of the posts calling for violence was from Nov. 16. Another, from early December, included comments such as: “My wishes for a racewar have never been higher. I find myself thinking about killing n—s and jews more and more often.”

Apple told Parler it received numerous complaints that the platform had been used to organize the assault on the Capitol and was being used to organize future violence. Its list of evidence began with a link to Sleeping Giants’ feed, which had screenshots of posts from influencers such as pro-Trump lawyer L. Lin Wood calling for firing squads to shoot Mr. Pence to an account with few followers calling for people to bring their weapons to the nation’s capital on Jan 19.

Daily News Take

The Daily News reports Parler Sues Amazon After App is Suspended by Web Service.

“AWS’s decision to effectively terminate Parler’s account is apparently motivated by political animus,” the lawsuit said. “It is also apparently designed to reduce competition in the microblogging services market to the benefit of Twitter.”

Google and Apple, meanwhile, have removed Parler from their app stores.

“When Twitter announced two evenings ago that it was permanently banning President Trump from its platform, conservative users began to flee Twitter en masse for Parler,” the new 18-page complaint obtained by the Daily News states.

“The exodus was so large that the next day... Parler became the number one free app downloaded from Apple’s App Store,” the paperwork claims.

Parler accused Amazon of a double standard, scoffing at the company’s claim it decided to take action because it was “not confident Parler could properly police its platform regarding content that encourages or incites violence against others.”

Amazon, meanwhile, said in a Saturday email to Parler that it found 98 examples of “posts that clearly encourage and incite violence.”

The email, filed as an exhibit to the lawsuit, included a screenshot of one such post where a Parler user threatened starting “civil war 2″ last Wednesday and shooting a “damn bullet” in the heads of “dirty left” Democrats.

“We’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms,” the letter from AWS said. “It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service.”

Not a Free Speech Issue

Free speech does not extend to those promoting killing, hanging politicians, promoting violence, etc.

This is not a free speech issue. 

But what about an antitrust violation?

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Q&A on Parler

The Fox news clip above says there is collusion, but this antitrust Q&A believes otherwise.

Q: Google and Apple have both pulled Parler from its app stores and Amazon stopped hosting it. Is this the end of Parler?

A: "It is gonna be a long difficult slog to get back because there was very little notice. They basically had 24 hours to find new servers, so that makes it very difficult for them to operate. Now they're off the app stores, and that is a major hurdle to overcome. So, they're in trouble." 

Q: Parler is suing Amazon, on grounds of anti-trust laws. Does it have a strong legal leg to stand on? 

A: "Well, they are saying that they were unfairly booted over politics and antitrust matters. The antitrust part of it might be difficult because it's not like Parler was competing with them directly. Amazon and Parler are in two different universes, so that might be a tough sell. Certainly, it's too early to see how a judge would react, but it is one step that they can take to express their frustration with Amazon and perhaps at some point they can come to an agreement as to how they might work together. Amazon has said that the problem is they feel that Parler is not capable of moderating the content on the platform. Mind you, it is relatively new and small; it's not like Facebook that has thousands of people able to help moderate." 

Facebook Removes References to Stop the Steal

Also note that Facebook Says It Is Removing All Content Mentioning ‘Stop the Steal’

Facebook Inc. said it is removing all content mentioning “stop the steal,” a phrase popular among supporters of President Trump’s unproven claims of election fraud, as part of a raft of measures to stem misinformation and incitements to violence on its platform ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The announcement was one of a number of new measures announced by tech giants Monday in an effort to deter further unrest after the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol last week. Twitter Inc. said it has removed more than 70,000 accounts since Friday that spread the QAnon conspiracy theory, whose followers believe Mr. Trump is under assault by Satan worshipers. Inc. said aid Monday it is removing some products related to the QAnon conspiracy theory.  Followers of the fringe QAnon conspiracy, which has been labeled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a domestic terrorist threat, were among those that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. 

Amazon is still selling merchandise related to the president. Shopify Inc., a Canada-based e-commerce software provider, last week took down online stores run by the Trump Organization and Trump campaign following the riot.

Convinced? If so, of what?

Where are the lines? Where should they be?

I do not claim to have all the answers and I am troubled where this may potentially head.