Parler sues Amazon with emergency filing for shutting down site, cites antitrust violations

by Joel Abbott · Jan 11th, 2021 1:53 pm
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Last Updated Jan 12th, 2021 at 11:10 pm

Social platform Parler filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon on Monday after the latter removed the site from its cloud-hosting service, AWS.

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

Parler asserts that it began gaining large numbers of users after Twitter announced it would ban President Trump from the platform. Citing concerns over how Parler would moderate the platform, Amazon decided to remove the site from its servers.

"[Amazon] stated the reason for the suspension was that AWS was not confident Parler could properly police its platform regarding content that encourages or incites violence against others," Parler said. "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."

Parler gave several specific claims of how Amazon is violating the law, including the Sherman Antitrust Act and its contract with Parler, which specifies that a 30-day notification must be given before service is terminated.

Parler is seeking a restraining order against AWS to prevent it from removing the site, calling it "the equivalent of pulling the plug on a hospital patient on life support."

"It will kill Parler's business — at the very time it is set to skyrocket," said the filing.

The lawsuit also alleges a conflict of interest between Amazon and Twitter, as the former announced a multi-year deal with Twitter less than a month ago. Parler, as a rival to Twitter, has gained millions of users in recent months at Twitter's expense. The tech platform argues that the decision to pull the plug over speculation that Trump would join the platform – likely bringing in millions of new Parler users at Twitter's expense – was an illegal act of collusion.

"This death blow by AWS could not come at a worse time for Parler — a time when the company is surging with the potential of even more explosive growth in the next few days," said the company. "Worse than the timing is the result — Parler has tried to find alternative companies to host it and they have fallen through. It has no other options."

In its argument for an emergency decision, Parler argued that even a single day of remaining offline could cause its user base to move on to new platforms – a move that could spell financial ruin for the company.

🔦 Another Twitter alternative – Gab– is currently gaining 10,000 new users every hour.


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