Republicans press Google, Apple, Amazon on Parler removals
Top Republicans on the House and Senate antitrust committees sent letters to Google, Apple and Amazon pressing the tech giants over their actions to remove from their platforms the fringe social media site Parler after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
In a letter sent Wednesday by Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the lawmakers question whether the companies followed “procedural fairness” in pulling Parler.
“The timing of steps taken against the Parler social network by your companies and that the actions seem to lack any of the procedural fairness typically afforded in the case of an alleged breach of contract create the appearance of close coordination,” they wrote.
The Republicans also frame the actions as “three of the largest technology companies in the world” targeting “one small business.”
Parler similarly leveled allegations that Amazon sought to limit the app’s market power in a complaint filed last month in Washington state court. The lawsuit was filed the same day Parler filed to dismiss its federal case against Amazon over the suspension.
Google and Apple removed Parler from their app stores just days after the deadly riot at the Capitol, after the platform was found to be rife with posts about storming the building. The companies cited Parler’s lack of content moderation policies and public safety concerns in making the decision.
Shortly afterward, Amazon Web Services suspended Parler’s platform, citing concerns the platform could not adequately screen out potential incendiary content, including material that incites violence.
Spokespeople for Amazon, Google and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment in response to Buck and Lee’s letter.
In their letter, the Republicans also note that Parler last week told the House Oversight and Reform Committee that the company flagged material posted on its platform to the FBI before the violent insurrection at the Capitol.
The Republicans are looking for detailed responses on the companies’ content policies and processes about reviewing or terminating deals with businesses. They also requested details about the notice given to Parler and further information about the decisions to take action against the platform.
They requested a response no later than April 15.