Parler drops federal lawsuit against Amazon, files in state court

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Parler dropped its federal lawsuit against Amazon and filed a new lawsuit against the tech giant in Washington state court on Tuesday over Amazon’s web hosting services decision to de-platform the fringe social media site, according to court filings. 

Parler filed a voluntary dismissal in its federal case against Amazon on Tuesday.

The lawsuit was filed in January, and had sought a court order ruling that Amazon had to resume hosting Parler after Amazon Web Services (AWS) pulled the platform due to violent posts surrounding the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol. 

The same day Parler filed to dismiss the federal case, the platform filed a new lawsuit in Washington state court alleging defamation and breach of contract.

The new lawsuit was first reported by NPR.

Parler alleges Amazon leaked “false allegations to the press” about Parler and damaged the platform’s reputation. The platform also accuses the tech giant of breaching the contract with the site by not giving a 30-day notice before pulling it offline. 

Moreover, Parler’s complaint alleges that Amazon sought to limit the app’s market power.

Parler’s platform model is based on limited content moderation. Around the same time Amazon pulled the platform from its web hosting service, Google and Apple pulled the Parler app from their respective app stores citing similar concerns over content moderation policies.  

Before the action to limit the app, Parler had seen increased popularity among a right-wing base. Parler’s lawsuit alleges that Amazon “attempted to kill Parler” because its popularity made it a “competitive threat” to the mainstream tech platforms. 

An Amazon Web Services (AWS) spokesperson dismissed Parler’s latest legal challenge, stating that “there is no merit to these claims.” 

“AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow. However, as shown by the evidence in Parler’s federal lawsuit, it was clear that there was significant content on Parler that encouraged and incited violence against others, which is a violation of our terms of service,” the spokesperson said in a statement. 

“Further, Parler was unable or unwilling to promptly identify and remove this content, which coupled with an increase in this type of dangerous violent content, led to our suspension of their services.”

In response to the federal suit, Amazon maintained that its suspension of Parler was justified over the platform’s repeated failure to screen out potentially incendiary content, including material that violated the companies’ contract through content that could incite violence. 

Attorneys for Amazon had urged a judge to keep the platform offline, citing a series of death threats against top tech executives and elected officials posted to the site ahead of the deadly Capitol riot. 

A federal judge in January denied Parler’s request for a court order that would have forced Amazon to resume hosting the platform. 

Parler announced last month it officially relaunched its website, touting the fact that it will not be “reliant on so-called ‘Big Tech’ for its operations.” The app is still not available in the Google and Apple stores.

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