Amazon, Apple & Google Cancel Parler

Amazon and Apple are removing the social media network Parler from their services, claiming it was among those used (including Facebook) to organise the recent riots at the US Capitol. 

If Parler fails to find a new web hosting service, the entire network will go offline. Parler, which is popular with extremist groups seeking an alternative to more mainstream social media sites, has come under fire since the storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Parler styles itself as an "unbiased" social media and has proved popular with people banned from Twitter. 

Amazon told Parler it had found 98 posts on the site that encouraged violence and both Apple and Google have removed the app from their stores. “Enough is enough,” Amazon Employees for Climate Justice posted on Twitter. “We demand Amazon deny Parler services until it removes posts inciting violence, including at the Presidential inauguration. We cannot be complicit in more bloodshed and violent attacks on our democracy.”

Launched in 2018, Parler has proved particularly popular among supporters of US President Donald Trump and right-wing conservatives. Such groups have frequently accused Twitter and Facebook of unfairly censoring their views.

While Mr Trump himself is not a user, the platform already features several high-profile contributors following earlier bursts of growth in 2020. Texas Senator Ted Cruz boasts 4.9 million followers on the platform, while Fox News host Sean Hannity has about seven million.

The suspension will remain in place for as long as the network continued to spread posts that incite violence, Amazon said.  Parler's CEO John Matze responded: "We won't cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech!" warning that Parler could be offline for a week while they rebuild.

It briefly became the most-downloaded app in the United States following the US election, the result of a clampdown on the spread of election misinformation by Twitter and Facebook.

In a letter to Parler obtained by CNN, Amazon's AWS Trust and Safety team asserted that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service. "AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we continue to respect Parler's right to determine for itself what content it will allow on its site... However, we cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others."" the letter said

Apple removed Parler from its app store after warning the network to remove content that violated its rules or face a ban. 

Parler’s CEO John Matze said on his social network that the company was not to blame for the violence and that coordination of such actions has no place on social media. “Most people on Parler are non-violent people... Yes, some of his parleys that violated our rules were taken down. Including the ones, you are talking about.” Matze told reporters.

Some commentators have speculated that Trump may launch his own platform after leaving office and free speech experts anticipate growing pressure on all social media platforms to curb incendiary speech, with Facebook in particular falling under the gaze of legislators looking to place controls on the influence of social media..

Bloomberg:       BBC:         Telegraph:        Techcrunch:       BayNews9:     Mediaite:

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