Tuesday, January 19

Amazon pushes Parler offline after Capitol attack

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Amazon will suspend Parler, the tech giant confirmed, sending the social media network offline after it was banned by Apple and Google for allowing “threats of violence” in the wake of a deadly riot at the US Capitol. — AFP photo

SAN FRANCISCO: Amazon will suspend Parler, the tech giant confirmed, sending the social media network offline after it was banned by Apple and Google for allowing “threats of violence” in the wake of a deadly riot at the US Capitol.

The Parler social network has become a haven for conservatives who say they have been censored by other social media platforms.

It had soared in popularity in recent months, becoming the No.1 free app on Apple’s App Store on Saturday after the much larger Twitter decided to permanently ban US President Donald Trump from its platform for his role in inciting violence at the Capitol.

Messages of support for the Wednesday’s rioters along with calls for new demonstrations had flourished on the platform, leading Google to remove it from its app store on Friday, followed by Apple on Saturday.

Amazon then moved to wipe it from its cloud hosting Amazon Web Services, pushing it offline entirely.

In a letter to Parler first published by Buzzfeed, Amazon said the network was not acting quickly enough against violent content on the platform.

“We’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms of service,” the letter, the contents of which were confirmed to AFP by Amazon, said.

Given the riot at the Capitol, the letter continued, there was a “serious risk that this type of content will further incite violence.”

It will suspend the account just before midnight Pacific Standard Time on January 10 (0759GMT today).

As the group hosts Parler’s data on its cloud service, this should prevent it from functioning, at least temporarily.

The founder of Parler, John Matz, confirmed on his profile that there was a possibility the network would be unavailable “for up to a week” as it searches for a new host.

“We will try our best to move to a new provider right now,” he said.

Amazon’s decision has much more far-reaching impact than the moves by Google and Apple.

They had made it more complicated to download the Parler app, but users could still access it if it was already downloaded or if they were using an internet browser.

“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 in a statement Saturday. — AFP