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Judge rejects Parler's request to be reinstated on Amazon's 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. 21 (UPI) -- A judge in Washington state on Thursday denied the conservative-friendly social media app Parler's request to be reinstated on Amazon's cloud hosting service after being booted following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein declined to grant a preliminary injunction forcing Amazon Web Services to resume hosting the platform popular among supporters of former President Donald Trump, saying the company had failed to provide evidence that Amazon removed Parler from its servers to benefit its competitor Twitter.

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"While Parler has not yet had an opportunity to conduct discovery, the evidence it has submitted in support of the claim is both dwindlingly slight and disputed by AWS," Rothstein wrote. "Importantly, Parler has submitted no evidence that AWS and Twitter acted together intentionally -- or even at all -- in restraint of trade."

Rothstein's ruling cited a statement from an unnamed AWS executive saying that AWS and Twitter had "never discussed, much less agreed upon" any policy, practice or act directed at Parler.

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"To the contrary, we have an internal policy never to discuss matters involving one customer with another customer. Nobody in my organization would be authorized to discuss Parler with Twitter without my authorization, knowledge or involvement," the executive said. "I have not authorized any AWS employee to discuss Parler with Twitter and I have not been involved personally in any such discussion."

Parler went dark on Jan. 11 after Amazon said the company violated its terms of service by failing to act after being informed of 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.

The social media company responded by suing Amazon, stating its removal was "motivated by political animus" and "apparently designed to reduce competition in the microblogging services market to benefit Twitter."

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Rothstein also said Parler failed to prove that the "balance of hardships" created by AWS removing Parler from its servers "tips sharply" toward Parler.

"AWS has convincingly argued that forcing it to host Parler's users' violent content would interfere with AWS' ability to prevent its services from being used to promote -- and, as the events of Jan. 6, 2021, have demonstrated, even cause -- violence," Rothstein wrote.

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