Amazon says Parler is a danger to its employees
Amazon.com Inc. says Parler LLC isn’t only dangerous to law and order in the nation’s capital but also to the tech giant’s staff.
To justify to a judge why it suspended web-hosting service for the conservative social media site, Amazon executives cited threats by Parler users to delivery drivers and staff at the e-commerce giant — as well as concern that Parler failed to police violent content both before and after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
A showdown looms Thursday in Seattle federal court over Parler’s complaint that Amazon’s action is a politically loaded attack on an upstart’s efforts to compete with social media behemoths Twitter and Facebook. But even as Parler cries foul that the loss of web-hosting service threatens its very existence, Amazon said Parler didn’t honor its contract.
“It was Parler who breached the agreement, by hosting content advocating violence and failing to timely take that content down,” AWS said in the filing.
Two unidentified Amazon executives submitted statements in court filings about Parler users “posting threats of physical violence to Amazon delivery drivers, Amazon facilities, and Amazon executives.” They each wrote: “As a result of these threats and similar threats against employees of other companies that have suspended Parler or others from their services, I am concerned for my safety, as well as the safety of my colleagues.”
Amazon started investigating violent threats on Parler in November and reported more than 100 pieces of content over the next seven weeks, but the site never took action, according to one executive. After the events at the Capitol, Amazon “notified Parler of additional content that threatened or encouraged violence” and emphasized the need to take such posts down, the executive said.
Parler responded by proposing to have volunteers identify content that would be forwarded to a “jury” to decide whether it should be taken down, the executive said. Amazon said that the company’s chief executive officer had stated publicly that Parler would do “as little content moderation as possible” and that there was an uptick in violent threats on the site.
“We explained that given the events at the U.S. Capitol Building and the threats regarding the upcoming inauguration, we had real concern about this content leading to more violence,” the Amazon executive said, adding that the company doubted Parler’s response would be effective.
David J. Groesbeck, a Spokane, Wash.-based lawyer representing Parler, had no immediate comment Tuesday evening.
AWS is by far the largest cloud-computing provider, and its on-demand software services are the backbone for many of the most popular internet services. Parler has ”no other options” to be on the web, it said in the suit.