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Loss of Amazon support could force Parler to shut down, CEO warns

Others, including Parler's attorneys, have dropped them as clients.

Others, including Parler's attorneys, have dropped them as clients.

The log of social media website Parler. (Image: Handout/Graphic by The Desk)

The chief executive of an embattled social media website says a recent decision by Amazon to drop it as a customer will likely force the website to go offline and could spell the end of his company.

In an interview with the Fox News Channel that aired on Sunday, Parler CEO John Matze said web services were dropping support for the social media platform left and right after it was linked to a violent attack against the U.S. Capitol by far-right extremists last week.

Following the attack on Wednesday, tech companies Apple and Google said they would stop distributing Parler’s app in their digital stores over concerns that the company wasn’t doing enough to curb violent rhetoric posted by its users. The company tends to attract users with far-right viewpoints, some of whom have called for riotous protests following President Donald Trump’s election loss to President-Elect Joe Biden.

Apple and Google were not alone in withdrawing their support for Parler: On Saturday, Matze said Amazon had announced it would no longer support Parler’s use of its Amazon Web Service cloud computing feature, which provides computer servers and related services for websites.

In a letter sent to Parler’s policy officer and reviewed by The Desk, an Amazon official said it had warned Parler for weeks of posts that “clearly encourage and incite violence.” The tech company said it provided 98 specific examples to Parler.

“You remove some violent content when contacted by us or others, but not always with urgency,” an Amazon official wrote in the letter.

In one of the last conversations between the companies, Parler responded to Amazon officials by promising to create a volunteer staff of content moderators who would be tasked with weeding out problematic posts. But Amazon said this step didn’t go far enough to satisfy their concerns.

“Given the unfortunate events that transpired this past week in Washington, D.C., there is serious risk that this type of content will further incite violence,” the Amazon official wrote. The company warned Parler would lose access to Amazon Web Services on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.

Late Saturday night, Matze assured Parler users that Amazon’s decision would lead to an interruption in service that would be brief because “many [companies are] competing for our business.”

One day later, he admitted that comment was untrue.

“We’re gonna try our best to get online as fast as possible, but we’re having a lot of trouble because every vendor we talk to says they won’t work to us,” Matze admitted to Fox’s Maria Bartiromo. “Because if Apple doesn’t approve and Google doesn’t approve, they won’t.”

To make things worse, Matze said other companies that provided services to Parler were also starting to bail.

“Every vendor, from text message services to email providers to our lawyers, all ditched us too, on the same day,” Matze told Fox’s Maria Bartiromo in an interview.

Some of these decision have created technical problems for Parler already: The company suspended the creation of new user accounts on Sunday, and existing users have reported issues with creating new posts and modifying their profiles and account information.

But the biggest impact to the company will come from the loss of Amazon’s services, which Matze warned could force the closure of the company if they’re unable to find another cloud computing service willing to work with them soon.

“They just don’t want us on the Internet,” Matze said. “They just want to get rid of us.”

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).