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Parler sues Amazon, can’t keep story straight on future of company

In public statements and court documents, Parler's CEO offers contradictory statements on the company's future.

In public statements and court documents, Parler's CEO offers contradictory statements on the company's future.

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

Social media upstart Parler is suing tech giant Amazon in federal court less than 24 hours after Amazon pulled its cloud computing support for the website.

In a complaint filed in federal court on Monday, Parler accused Amazon of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act when it decided to drop Parler as a customer over the weekend.

The platform most favored by politically-conservative individuals, groups and news organizations has been offline since early Monday morning more than 24 hours after an Amazon official first warned Parler that it would stop providing cloud computing services to the company.

In a letter sent to Parler’s chief policy officer and obtained by The Desk, an Amazon official said the social media company was not doing enough to address and remove violent, incendiary content posted by its users. It also said Parler did not have an adequate plan in place to address and remove future problematic content.

Amazon said it would stop offering support to Parler just before midnight on Monday.

Amazon’s decision followed similar moves by other tech companies, including Apple and Google, after Parler was accused of providing a platform to users who were suspected of inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Google announced last week it would stop distributing Parler’s app through its official Google Play Store, which is widely used by Android phone and tablet users to install software on their devices. A short time later, Apple said it would also remove the Parler app from its Apple App Store, which is used by iPhone and iPad users to install third-party software.

Parler responded to the moves by instructing Android device users to install its app directly from the Parler website while telling Apple device users to just visit its website in a web browser.

Amazon’s decision over the weekend effectively upended both plans, with the website being unreachable to anyone on the Internet since this morning.

Parler’s CEO John Matze has offered conflicting statements on the future of the website: In a post on his own platform just before it went offline, Matze reassured Parler’s 12 million users that there were “many [companies] competing for our business.”

But on Sunday, Matze revealed the statement was not true.

“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 told Fox News. “If Apple doesn’t approve and Google doesn’t approve, they won’t.”

In a follow-up interview aired on Monday, Matze said Parler was weighing the possibility of building its own server infrastructure, which would effectively allow it to resume operations without the need of a third party company like Amazon or anyone else. But in court documents reviewed by The Desk, Parler said it would not be able to resume operations if Amazon does not agree to provide services to it once again.

“Without [Amazon Web Services], Parler is finished, as it has no way to get back online,” the company said.

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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).