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Pro-Trump social app Parler sues Amazon after being booted from servers

Supporters of President Donald Trump riot against the Electoral College vote count on Wednesday in protest of Trump's loss to President-elect Joe Biden, prompting a lockdown of the Capitol Building. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 11 (UPI) -- The conservative-friendly social media site Parler filed a lawsuit against Amazon on Monday, saying the company breached its contract after it ended its relationship with the platform.

Parler's complaint, filed in Seattle federal court, alleged that Amazon's decision to remove Parler from the Amazon Web Services web hosting platform was politically motivated and accused Amazon of applying a double standard in how it was treated.

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

The social media platform on which many of President Donald Trump's more violent supporters often gathered to communicate went dark early Monday after being removed from AWS. The platform was entirely unreachable on the Internet a few hours later.

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Amazon said it had informed Parler about nearly 100 posts on its platform that "clearly encourage and incite violence," some of which made violent threats against "liberal leaders" as well as activists and supporters.

On Monday, an AWS spokesman told the Wall Street Journal the claims made in Parler's lawsuit had no merit and that the company respected Parler's right to determine what content was allowed on the platform.

"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," the spokesman said.

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"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."

Amazon's decision to sever ties followed identical moves by Google and Apple to remove the site from their app stores.

Last week's attack on the U.S. Capitol by angry Trump supporters -- many of whom had used Parler for weeks to discuss targeting lawmakers Jan. 6 -- the day Congress gathered to certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory -- was the reason all three tech companies dismissed the platform.

On Friday, Twitter permanently suspended Trump's personal account "due to the risk of further incitement of violence," following similar moves by Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Dozens of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol have been arrested and charged with criminal offenses, and authorities are trying to identify more.

Parler CEO John Matze wrote on the platform before it went dark Monday that the service could be unavailable for "up to a week."

"We will try our best to move to a new provider right now as we have many competing for our business," he wrote.

"Amazon, Google and Apple purposefully did this as a coordinated effort knowing our options would be limited and knowing this would inflict the most damage right as President Trump was banned from the tech companies.

"We were too successful too fast. You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue, but don't count us out."

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Capitol Hill police salute the passing of the funeral hearse on Sunday for slain Officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

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