Seattle judge rejects Parler’s request to force Amazon to restore hosting services

Ruben Fields
January 22, 2021

A U.S. judge on Thursday rejected Parler's demand that Amazon.com Inc restore web hosting services for the social media platform, which Amazon had cut off following the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.

However, Rothstein made it clear that Parler has a tough road ahead.

Attorneys for Parler requested a preliminary injunction from the court and argued in part that Amazon was violating laws against monopoly in favor of Twitter, Parler's competitor.

"The Court explicitly rejects any suggestion that the balance of equities or the public interest favors obligating AWS to host the kind of abusive, violent content at issue in this case, particularly in light of the recent riots at the U.S. Capitol", wrote U.S. District Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein in the ruling Thursday afternoon.

A Seattle court rejected Parler's attempt to force Amazon to bring the network back online.

Google and Apple removed Parler from their app stores shortly after the siege on Capitol Hill over its failure to moderate "egregious content", including violent threats made against lawmakers' lives and intent to bring weapons to the January 6 riot.

Amazon said Parler ignored repeated warnings to effectively moderate the growth on its website of violent content, which included calls to assassinate prominent Democratic politicians, leading business executives and members of the media.

Speaking to Fox News early this week, Cook justified suspending Parler, favored by supporters of former president Donald Trump. The social network has been embraced by conservatives as an alternative to Twitter. The Trump administration last week declined to comment on whether he had planned to join.

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Judge Rothstein in this case sided with Amazon that seven hours should have been enough time for Parler to handle posts by adults about their illegal activity on one day.

Losing access to the app stores of Google and Apple - whose operating systems power hundreds of millions of smartphones - severely limited Parler's reach.

Amazon denied its move to pull the plug on Parler had anything to do with political animus.

Amazon said the company signed up for its cloud computing services about a month later, thereby agreeing to its rules against risky content.

Amazon told Insider's Ashley Stewart and Eugene Kim the firm had been in conversation with Parler "for weeks" over lax content moderation for violent posts.

Maloney asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to review Parler's financing and its ties to Russian Federation after she noted the company had re-emerged.

But Parler had trouble staying online in the days immediately following the election, as Amazon, which hosted its servers, cut ties with the company.

"We looked at the incitement to violence that was on there, and we don't consider that free speech and incitement to violence has an intersection", Cook said.

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