The social network Parler recently evolved as a haven for supporters of former President Donald Trump. It is presented as an alternative to Twitter and Facebook, which monitored posts regarding the 2020 presidential election for false claims. Before and after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, many Trump supporters posted disturbingly violent content on Parler. Among other things, members posted threats against African-Americans, the Jewish community, tech leaders, politicians, teachers, and professional athletes. In response, Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores. The site disappeared entirely when Amazon Web Services suspended its account.
Responding to the suspension, Parler went to a federal court in Washington to ask for reinstatement. It argued that AWS had suspended its account due to improper political bias, as well as favoritism for Twitter, which uses the same hosting service. Amazon responded that it had shared its concerns over the violent posts on Parler with the social network, but the frequency of these posts continued to climb.
Last week, Parler failed to obtain a preliminary injunction in this case. The judge found that the social network failed to adequately support allegations of antitrust violations or other improper business activities. The judge also pointed out that Parler did not deny that its users had incited and possibly facilitated violence through their posts. She felt that AWS should be allowed to prevent its services from being used to endorse violence, even if Parler pledged to adjust its moderation policies.
Unless Parler can produce more convincing evidence to support its case, it likely will not prevail in court. Before the network was suspended, archivists backed up many of its posts. However, unless Parler can find another hosting service, it probably will not be able to return online.
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