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Following news of Parler being removed from Google Play and Apple’s App Store, Amazon announced that it would follow suit by dropping the social networking app from its web hosting services in wake of the riot at the Capitol.
Parler’s CEO and founder John Matze shared the news of Amazon’s decision to no longer provide cloud services to Parler, writing on his official Parler account that come Sunday at midnight, all of the app’s servers will be shut down “in an attempt to completely remove free speech off the internet.”
By Monday morning, Parler was down.
“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 proprietary infrastructure and building bare metal products,” Matze had explained over the weekend. “We will try our best to move to a new provider right now as we have many competing for our business, however Amazon, Google and Apple purposefully did this as a coordinated effort knowing our options would be limited and knowing this would inflict the most damage right as President Trump was banned from the tech companies. This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place. We were too successful too fast. You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue, but don’t count us out.”
Matze later released another statement saying that Parler will “likely be down longer than expected,” adding that “Amazon’s, Google’s and Apple’s statements to the press about dropping our access has caused most of our other vendors to drop their support for us as well. And most people with enough servers to host us have shut their doors to us.”
He concluded, “Parler is my final stand on the Internet. I won’t be making an account on any social.”
Apple suspended Parler from its App Store earlier on Saturday, noting in a statement: “We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity. Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety. We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues.”
Apple also shared a letter sent by its review board to Parler. “Thank you for your response regarding dangerous and harmful content on Parler. We have determined that the measures you describe are inadequate to address the proliferation of dangerous and objectionable content on your app,” the letter began. “Parler has not upheld its commitment to moderate and remove harmful or dangerous content encouraging violence and illegal activity, and is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.”
“In your response, you referenced that Parler has been taking this content ‘very seriously for weeks.’ However, the processes Parler has put in place to moderate or prevent the spread of dangerous and illegal content have proved insufficient. Specifically, we have continued to find direct threats of violence and calls to incite lawless action in violation of Guideline 1.1 – Safety – Objectionable Content,” the letter continued. “Your response also references a moderation plan ‘for the time being,’ which does not meet the ongoing requirements in Guideline 1.2 – Safety – User Generated content. While there is no perfect system to prevent all dangerous or hateful user content, apps are required to have robust content moderation plans in place to proactively and effectively address these issues. A temporary ‘task force’ is not a sufficient response given the widespread proliferation of harmful content. For these reasons, your app will be removed from the App Store until we receive an update that is compliant with the App Store Review Guidelines and you have demonstrated your ability to effectively moderate and filter the dangerous and harmful content on your service.”
Google suspended the social networking app from its Google Play store on Friday, but the app will not be removed from existing users’ phones and will still be available to download on other Android app stores and on the web.
An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the suspension.
On Friday, Buzzfeed News reported that Apple had contacted Parler that morning, threatening to ban the app unless it provided a “full moderation plan” within 24 hours. The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Apple for comment.
Calls for Google and Apple to ban Parler from their app stores increased after Wednesday’s events and reporting showing that app users were encouraging violence in their exchanges prior to the Wednesday event. During the siege at the Capitol, Parler users also egged on rioters, telling them to “hold your ground” and saying “no change without bloodshed.”
These actions come one day following Twitter’s permanent suspension of President Donald Trump’s account over “risk of further incitement of violence” and deleted tweets from the @POTUS account after the president attempted to tweet there following the ban.
On Thursday Facebook extended a block on Trump’s account, initially instituted temporarily on Wednseday, through the end of his presidency. “The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post about the decision.
Jan 11, 6 a.m. Updated to include Matz follow-up statement.
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