The takedown of Parler by the cabal of Google, Apple, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), joined by other vendors who now are afraid to deal with Parler, is one of the most dangerous moments for internet freedom.

The takedown is based on claim that Parler is so dangerous to public safety that it can’t exist. That claim is a lie, Parler is no worse and in many ways better than terrorist-infested Facebook, where the Capitol Hill riot was organized, and “Toxic Twitter” (the term used by Amnesty International).  I documented both the lie and the implications in The claim that Parler represents some unique risk to public safety is a lie driven by politics.

The truth is that Parler was taken down because it is viewed by leftist tech giants as pro-Trump, and the growing home to conservative media stars and others disaffected by liberal social media platforms.

Now Parler is down. You can’t reach the website because AWS shut off their servers.

Any company that uses AWS is risking its business — as we know, it doesn’t take much for internet mobs to accuse people and companies of being racists, sexist, etc. Why would a company bet its future on the sensitivities of AWS employees who led the effort to kick out Parler? Talk about burning your brand.

Parler’s CEO John Matze was on Tucker Carlson Tonight. The bottom line is that he doesn’t know when Parler will be back. Everytime they line up new server vendors, they back out at the last minute.

Parler has sued AWS. You can read the Complaint and Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (pdfs). From the Complaint:

1. This is a civil action for injunctive relief, including a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunctive relief, and damages. Last Month, Defendant Amazon Web Services, Inc. (“AWS”) and the popular social media platform Twitter signed a multi-year deal so that AWS could support the daily delivery of millions of tweets. AWS currently provides that same service to Parler, a conservative microblogging alternative and competitor to Twitter.

2. When Twitter announced two evenings ago that it was permanently banning President Trump from its platform, conservative users began to flee Twitter en masse for Parler. The exodus was so large that the next day, yesterday, Parler became the number one free app downloaded from Apple’s App Store.

3. Yet last evening, AWS announced that it would suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59 PM PST. And it 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. 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.

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

5. Thus, AWS is violating Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act in combination with Defendant Twitter. AWS is also breaching it contract with Parler, which requires AWS to provide Parler with a thirty-day notice before terminating service, rather than the less than thirty-hour notice AWS actually provided. Finally, AWS is committing intentional interference with prospective economic advantage given the millions of users expected to sign up in the near future.

6. This emergency suit seeks a Temporary Restraining Order against Defendant Amazon Web Services to prevent it from shutting down Parler’s account at the end of today. Doing so is 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.

Yup, Twitter uses AWS. How convenient.

The Judge has set the following schedule per the docket:

ORDER re Plaintiff’s 2 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order: The Court orders Parler to “serve all motion papers,” including the Complaint, on AWS by no later than 5:00 p.m. PST today, January 11, 2021. AWS shall respond to the Motion for TRO no later than 5:00 p.m. PST, January 12, 2021. Parler may file any reply no later than 12:00 noon PST, January 13, 2021. The parties shall follow all rules for briefing, including page limits, set out in the Local Rules. Signed by Judge Barbara J. Rothstein. (MW) (Entered: 01/11/2021)

AWS issued this smug statement:

“There is no merit to these claims,” an Amazon Web Services spokesperson said in a statement. “AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow. However, it is clear that there is significant content on Parler that encourages and incites violence against others, and that Parler is unable or unwilling to promptly identify and remove this content, which is a violation of our terms of service. We made our concerns known to Parler over a number of weeks and during that time we saw a significant increase in this type of dangerous content, not a decrease, which led to our suspension of their services Sunday evening.”

The lawsuit is going to be tough. I think the alleged failure to adhere to the contractual notice of termination provision is going to be a lot more important than antitrust theories that get the media attention.

We need to consider our alliances. The reality is that these internet oligopolies are so politically corrupt that their exercise of omnipotent power is a threat to all our freedoms.

UPDATE 1-12-2021

AWS has filed its Opposition to Motion for TRO (pdf.)

UPDATE 1-14-2021

Oral argument on the motion was held today. I can’t find a recording or report on how it went. Here are more documents filed in court, so all the pleadings are in this post for future reference:

Parler v. Amazon Web Services – Amazon Motion to Seal – 1-12-2021

Parler v. Amazon Web Services – Declaration of [Redacted Amazon Executive 1] In Opposition 1-12-2021

Parler v. Amazon Web Services – Declaration of [Redacted Amazon Exec 2] In Opposition 1-12-2021

Parler v. Amazon Web Services – Declaration of Ambika K. Doran In Opposition 1-12-2021

Parler v. Amazon Web Services – Parler Reply In Support 1-13-2021

Parler v. Amazon Web Services – Declaration of John Matze Jr. In Support 1-13-2021

Parler v. Amazon Web Services – Declaration of Amy Peikoff In Support 1-13-2021

Parler v. Amazon Web Services – Parler Motion to Seal – 1-15-2021

Parler v. Amazon Web Services – Parler Supplemental Authority and Matze Affidavit 1-18-2021

 

 
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