Social network Parler is currently offline after Amazon Web Service (AWS) withdrew its support on public safety grounds.
In an email to Parler, published by Buzzfeed and confirmed to Verdict to be accurate by AWS, the AWS Trust and Safety team said it had suspended Parler’s account due to “a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms”. AWS added Parler had failed to “effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others”.
The cloud computing provider also said that Parler’s plans to use volunteers to moderate violent content “will not work in light of the rapidly growing number of violent posts”.
The email included examples of Parler users calling for the assassination of lawmakers, activists, Black Lives Matter leaders and supporters and members of the mainstream media.
AWS, an Amazon subsidiary, said that Parler’s data had been preserved so it could “migrate to its own services”.
Launched in 2018 and marketed as a “free speech” alternative to other social media platforms, Parler has attracted a significant number of far-right users, Donald Trump supporters and conspiracy theorists due to its relaxed content moderation policies.
Parler has been touted as an alternative to “mainstream” social media following a crackdown on disinformation and content that incites violence by Twitter and Facebook. The app was reportedly downloaded almost a million times following the US Presidential election on 3 November 2020.
Parler has faced criticism for its role in the storming of the US Capitol Building by pro-Trump rioters, with the microblogging platform used to coordinate the riot, and for users inciting violence.
Last week, Apple and Google removed the Parler app from their respective app stores on the grounds that it did not comply with their content moderation requirements.
In a post, Parler CEO John Matze said: “Sunday (tomorrow) at midnight Amazon will be shutting off all of our servers in an attempt to completely remove free speech off the internet. There is the possibility Parler will be unavailable on the internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch. We prepared for events like this by never relying on amazons [sic] proprietary infrastructure and building bare metal products”
Matze went on to describe the move as a “coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place [sic].” He said that the company would try to move to a new provider.
The news had been met with calls for violence by some users, with Parler user @Ronglaister tweeting “Sounds like war! It would be a pity someone with explosives training were to pay a visit to some AWS Data Centres- the locations of which are public knowledge.”
Last week, Twitter announced that Donald Trump’s accounts had been permanently suspended, with Facebook temporarily suspending the outgoing president’s account until the end of his presidency.