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Amazon to remove Parler from web-hosting service, potentially sending it offline

Apple, Google remove site popular with Trump supporters from app stores
Posted at 8:48 PM, Jan 09, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following Apple and Google’s lead, Amazon now plans to remove Parler from its web-hosting service, a move that would cause the social networking site to go offline.

Amazon has confirmed to multiple outlets, including The Washington Post and CNBC, that starting at 11:59 p.m. PT on Sunday, it will no longer provide cloud services to the website popular among conservatives and far-right extremists.

In an email obtained by CNBC, Amazon Web Services told Parler that the platform continues to host “violent content” that violates their terms of service. It said it would be suspending Parler’s account because the site is, “unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others.”

Parler’s CEO, John Matze, released a statement Saturday, claiming Amazon was attempting to “completely remove free speech off the internet.” He said there’s a possibility Parler will be unavailable on the internet for up to a week as they rebuild from scratch.

Amazon’s actions come after Apple and Google both decided to remove Parler from their app stores.

Google Play was first to suspend Parler on Friday as Trump supporters flocked to the site after Twitter and other companies decided to suspend the president’s accounts, some indefinitely.

In the past several months, these social media sites have had to grapple with how to deal with President Donald Trump’s continued spread of misinformation and it seems his role in Wednesday’s riots at the U.S. Capitol was the final straw. The riots, which followed a Washington D.C. speech by Trump, began as protests that were largely organized online on sites like Parler.

In a statement obtained by The E.W. Scripps Company, Google said it made the decision to suspend Parler due to the continued posts that seek to incite ongoing violence in the U.S.

"All developers agree to these terms and we have reminded Parler of this clear policy in recent months,” said a Google spokesperson in part. “We’re aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US. We recognize that there can be a reasonable debate about content policies and that it can be difficult for apps to immediately remove all violative content, but for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content. In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app’s listings from the Play Store until it addresses these issues.”

In a statement obtained by The New York Times and Axios, Apple said it removed Parler from its store for similar reasons.

“We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” Apple said. “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety.”

Before Apple pulled Parler from its store, it had warned the site Friday that it had a day to present a plan to better moderate harmful content or it would be removed, Axios reports.

CBS News reports that Parler won't be reinstated in the App Store unless Apple receives an update that is compliant with its guidelines and it has demonstrated the ability to effectively moderate and filter dangerous content.