Amazon.com Inc. urged a judge not to order the company to restore web-hosting service to Parler LLC, saying the conservative social media platform failed to police violent content before and after the Capitol riot.
Amazon Web Services suspended service for Parler after it was used by supporters of President Donald Trump to organize the storming of the U.S. Capitol last week. Parler sued, asking a federal judge in Seattle to order AWS to reinstate its web-hosting immediately. Amazon objected to the move late Tuesday.
“Compelling AWS to host content that plans, encourages, and incites violence would be unprecedented,” the company said in a court filing. AWS said it voiced concerns to Parler in November about information on its platform threatening violence, and that after issuing a warning about the Jan. 6 riot, AWS continued to see “problematic content.” In response, AWS said, Parler described steps that would rely “almost exclusively on volunteers.”
Parler said in its antitrust complaint that pulling the plug on its social network is life-threatening to the company. As an alternative to Twitter, it argues that AWS’s actions reduce competition in social media.
Parler’s web traffic had surged as Twitter and Facebook have made efforts to curb inflammatory content. Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google removed Parler from their app stores over the weekend.
AWS said in Tuesday’s filing that it has suspended and not terminated Parler’s account, and explained that the companies’ agreement requires Parler to ensure that its content doesn’t violate AWS policies — or the law. “It was Parler who breached the agreement, by hosting content advocating violence and failing to timely take that content down,” AWS said in the filing.
David J. Groesbeck, a Spokane, Washington-based lawyer representing Parler, had no immediate comment. AWS is by far the largest cloud-computing provider, and its on-demand software services are the backbone for many of the most popular internet services. Parler has ”no other options” to be on the web, it said in the suit.
The case is Parler LLC v. Amazon Web Services Inc., 21-cv-00031, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington.