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Why Amazon's Move to Drop Parler Is a Big Deal for the ...

Based on the lawsuit it seems that Amazon was within its rights when kicking Parler off its platform—expect the company’s lawsuit to be thrown out—because even prior to Jan. 6 AWS had raised ...

Apple, Google, and Amazon have all made one thing abundantly clear over the past two weeks: they’re not playing any Parler games.

Following Jan. 6’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, the trio—some of the world’s most powerful and influential companies, and among the top five U.S. firms by market capitalization—quickly booted Parler, an upstart social media platform that’s become a right-wing darling and was reportedly used by many of the Capitol insurrectionists, from the App Store, Google Play store, and Amazon Web Services, or AWS. Parler, the tech giants argued, has not done enough to moderate or police content posted there, and was thus in violation of their various terms of service.

Much has been made over Apple and Google’s decisions, and for good reason: it’s a household name and pretty much everyone with a smartphone interacts with the App Store or Google Play store on a regular basis. But the decision by AWS may be a seminal moment in the slow evolution of the Internet from government- and academia-driven innovation to a corporatist marketplace.

When Apple or Google shows a company the door, it means that firm’s app will no longer be available for download through the respective company’s app store. That’s a big blow, to be sure—just ask Fortnite creator Epic Games, which is engaged in an epic legal battle with Apple after getting kicked off the App Store over its attempt to bypass Apple’s 30% cut from Epic’s sales there. But even without the App Store, Fortnite’s doing just fine, playable on a swath of other platforms, from Android smartphones to Sony’s PlayStation consoles. If you want to distribute a mobile app, Apple and Google are pretty much the only games in town—a problematic duopoly, to be sure, but you can do a lot with the mobile web these days; not everyone needs an app.

Amazon kicking a company off AWS, however, can be a death punch. AWS isn’t an app store, it’s a cloud computing service. In ye olden times, companies that wanted to do much of anything having to do with the Internet generally had to run their own servers, a complicated, costly and time-consuming enterprise mostly reserved for the largest firms. Then came cloud providers like AWS, which rent servers (and offer myriad other services) on demand—you or I could go over to AWS and have something running on AWS servers in minutes.

Cloud computing seems basic today, but it was a revolutionary concept, serving as the backbone for pretty much the entire modern digital startup ecosystem—eliminating the costly and time-consuming process of spinning up your own servers got rid of an immense hurtle for fledgling companies, making them better able to compete with—and in some cases topple—existing hegemons. But that convenience came at a cost: modern Internet services are increasingly built on AWS and its rivals, like Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud. That has given those firms tremendous sway over what conduct is and is not acceptable on the Internet—in terms of free speech, they have become even more powerful than, say, Apple. It’s one thing to stop offering an app, it’s another to destabilize or block another company’s entire online operation.

Whether AWS and rival services should wield such power is the central debate in Parler’s subsequent lawsuit against Amazon, which underscores just how reliant Parler was upon AWS—Parler, the suit says, has “no other options” to be online other than AWS. That’s a dubious claim at best: theoretically speaking, there’s little stopping Parler from going old-school and running its own servers, especially if they’re hosted outside the United States, a common move among similarly dubious services looking to avoid the wrath of the moderators, be they corporate overlords or law enforcement (indeed, Parler has since turned to a Russian company for help in getting at least partially online). There are plenty of AWS alternatives, too. But one consequence of building a service to run on a platform like AWS is that it can be awfully hard to migrate elsewhere—engineers might “optimize their entire tech stack” for AWS—or, in English, make everything work well with it in a way that’s difficult to transpose. And it’s doubtful that few of AWS’ rivals would welcome Parler for the same reasons Amazon has rejected it.

Based on the lawsuit it seems that Amazon was within its rights when kicking Parler off its platform—expect the company’s lawsuit to be thrown out—because even prior to Jan. 6 AWS had raised questions about how Parler was moderating violent threats.

It was also probably the right move, especially amid concerns that extremists were using social media and encrypted chat apps to plan more chaos during President Joe Biden’s inauguration. And even if Parler could easily migrate to its own servers, there would be other ways to counter it, including pressuring companies who advertise there, offer it services like cybersecurity protection, or otherwise support it. Nonetheless, the episode underscores the dramatic extent to which the Internet—once popularly imagined as a digital Wild West of free thought—is now very much under corporate control. What that means will likely dominate the years ahead.

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Why Amazon's Move to Drop Parler Is a Big Deal for the ...

Following Jan. 6’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, the trio—some of the world’s most powerful and influential companies, and among the top five U.S. firms by market capitalization—quickly booted Parler, an upstart social media platform that’s become a right-wing darling and was reportedly used by many of the Capitol insurrectionists, from the App Store, Google Play store, and Amazon Web Services, …

This illustration picture shows social media application logo from Parler displayed on a smartphone with its website in the background
This illustration picture shows social media application logo from Parler displayed on a smartphone with its website in the background

This illustration picture shows social media application logo from Parler displayed on a smartphone with its website in the background in Arlington, Virginia on July 2, 2020. Credit - Olivier Douliery—AFP/Getty Images

Apple, Google, and Amazon have all made one thing abundantly clear over the past two weeks: they’re not playing any Parler games.

Following Jan. 6’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, the trio—some of the world’s most powerful and influential companies, and among the top five U.S. firms by market capitalization—quickly booted Parler, an upstart social media platform that’s become a right-wing darling and was reportedly used by many of the Capitol insurrectionists, from the App Store, Google Play store, and Amazon Web Services, or AWS. Parler, the tech giants argued, has not done enough to moderate or police content posted there, and was thus in violation of their various terms of service.

Much has been made over Apple and Google’s decisions, and for good reason: it’s a household name and pretty much everyone with a smartphone interacts with the App Store or Google Play store on a regular basis. But the decision by AWS may be a seminal moment in the slow evolution of the Internet from government- and academia-driven innovation to a corporatist marketplace.

When Apple or Google shows a company the door, it means that firm’s app will no longer be available for download through the respective company’s app store. That’s a big blow, to be sure—just ask Fortnite creator Epic Games, which is engaged in an epic legal battle with Apple after getting kicked off the App Store over its attempt to bypass Apple’s 30% cut from Epic’s sales there. But even without the App Store, Fortnite’s doing just fine, playable on a swath of other platforms, from Android smartphones to Sony’s PlayStation consoles. If you want to distribute a mobile app, Apple and Google are pretty much the only games in town—a problematic duopoly, to be sure, but you can do a lot with the mobile web these days; not everyone needs an app.

Amazon kicking a company off AWS, however, can be a death punch. AWS isn’t an app store, it’s a cloud computing service. In ye olden times, companies that wanted to do much of anything having to do with the Internet generally had to run their own servers, a complicated, costly and time-consuming enterprise mostly reserved for the largest firms. Then came cloud providers like AWS, which rent servers (and offer myriad other services) on demand—you or I could go over to AWS and have something running on AWS servers in minutes.

Cloud computing seems basic today, but it was a revolutionary concept, serving as the backbone for pretty much the entire modern digital startup ecosystem—eliminating the costly and time-consuming process of spinning up your own servers got rid of an immense hurtle for fledgling companies, making them better able to compete with—and in some cases topple—existing hegemons. But that convenience came at a cost: modern Internet services are increasingly built on AWS and its rivals, like Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud. That has given those firms tremendous sway over what conduct is and is not acceptable on the Internet—in terms of free speech, they have become even more powerful than, say, Apple. It’s one thing to stop offering an app, it’s another to destabilize or block another company’s entire online operation.

Whether AWS and rival services should wield such power is the central debate in Parler’s subsequent lawsuit against Amazon, which underscores just how reliant Parler was upon AWS—Parler, the suit says, has “no other options” to be online other than AWS. That’s a dubious claim at best: theoretically speaking, there’s little stopping Parler from going old-school and running its own servers, especially if they’re hosted outside the United States, a common move among similarly dubious services looking to avoid the wrath of the moderators, be they corporate overlords or law enforcement (indeed, Parler has since turned to a Russian company for help in getting at least partially online). There are plenty of AWS alternatives, too. But one consequence of building a service to run on a platform like AWS is that it can be awfully hard to migrate elsewhere—engineers might “optimize their entire tech stack” for AWS—or, in English, make everything work well with it in a way that’s difficult to transpose. And it’s doubtful that few of AWS’ rivals would welcome Parler for the same reasons Amazon has rejected it.

Based on the lawsuit it seems that Amazon was within its rights when kicking Parler off its platform—expect the company’s lawsuit to be thrown out—because even prior to Jan. 6 AWS had raised questions about how Parler was moderating violent threats.

It was also probably the right move, especially amid concerns that extremists were using social media and encrypted chat apps to plan more chaos during President Joe Biden’s inauguration. And even if Parler could easily migrate to its own servers, there would be other ways to counter it, including pressuring companies who advertise there, offer it services like cybersecurity protection, or otherwise support it. Nonetheless, the episode underscores the dramatic extent to which the Internet—once popularly imagined as a digital Wild West of free thought—is now very much under corporate control. What that means will likely dominate the years ahead.

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These are the violent threats that made Amazon drop …

13-01-2021 · It’s failed to secure a replacement web host, and it argued in court that Amazon was exercising unfair monopoly power in taking down the site. …

13-01-2021

In a filing on Tuesday, Amazon responded to Parler’s claims that it acted unfairly in taking down the social network — and in the process, gave outsiders a new look at the content that provoked Amazon to suspend Parler’s web services account.

Amazon Web Services suspended service to Parler on January 9th, effectively shutting down the social network. It’s failed to secure a replacement web host, and it argued in court that Amazon was exercising unfair monopoly power in taking down the site.

Amazon’s decision to suspend Parler’s service has provoked ongoing debate about AWS’s power as a hosting provider and whether such suspensions pose a threat to free speech. But while many had seen the suspension as a knee-jerk response to the mob attack on the US Capitol, Amazon’s response makes clear that the service had lodged complaints with Parler long before the raid.

“AWS reported to Parler, over many weeks, dozens of examples of content that encouraged violence,” the company argues in the filing, “including calls to hang public officials, kill Black and Jewish people, and shoot police officers in the head,”

To drive home this point, the complaint includes 15 examples of such posts, which include graphic calls to violence against tech CEOs, school teachers, and professional athletes. In some cases, the comments also refer to specific dates and targets for violence, encouraging users to form militia groups and “acquire targets.”

Amazon says it submitted more than 100 such comments to Parler in the weeks leading up to the suspension.

Content warning: these threats are graphic, violent, and racist; use discretion.

The filing gives more background to Amazon’s previous claims that the suspension was in response to escalating calls for violence on Parler.

“It is clear that there is significant content on Parler that encourages and incites violence against others, and that Parler is unable or unwilling to promptly identify and remove this content, which is a violation of our terms of service,” the company said in a statement on January 9th. “We made our concerns known to Parler over a number of weeks and during that time we saw a significant increase in this type of dangerous content, not a decrease, which led to our suspension of their services Sunday evening.”

In the filing, Amazon emphasized that it had suspended service rather than terminating it entirely and was open to restoring service to Parler if the company began moderating content in compliance with AWS’s terms of service.

Apple CEO Tim Cook made a similar point on Wednesday in an appearance on CBS, explaining that Apple had removed Parler from the iOS App Store because of its failure to moderate its content according to Apple’s terms. “All we’re asking is he meet the Terms of Service,” said Cook. “Our hope is that they do that and get back on the store.”

People also ask
  • Why is Amazon removing Parler?

    Amazon is removing "free speech" social network Parler from its web hosting service for violating rules. If Parler fails to find a new web hosting service by Sunday evening, the entire network will go offline. Parler styles itself as an "unbiased" social media and has proved popular with people banned from Twitter.

    Amazon is removing "free speech" social network Parler from its web hosting service for violating rules.

    If Parler fails to find a new web hosting service by Sunday evening, the entire network will go offline.

    Parler styles itself as an "unbiased" social media and has proved popular with people banned from Twitter.

    Amazon told Parler it had found 98 posts on the site that encouraged violence. Apple and Google have removed the app from their stores.

    Launched in 2018, Parler has proved particularly popular among supporters of US President Donald Trump and right-wing conservatives. Such groups have frequently accused Twitter and Facebook of unfairly censoring their views.

    While Mr Trump himself is not a user, the platform already features several high-profile contributors following earlier bursts of growth in 2020.

    Texas Senator Ted Cruz boasts 4.9 million followers on the platform, while Fox News host Sean Hannity has about seven million.

    The move comes after Apple suspended Parler from its app store. The suspension will remain in place for as long as the network continued to spread posts that incite violence, it said.

    Responding to Google's move earlier, Parler's chief executive John Matze said: "We won't cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech!"

    It briefly became the most-downloaded app in the United States after the US election, following a clampdown on the spread of election misinformation by Twitter and Facebook.

    In a letter obtained by CNN, Amazon's AWS Trust and Safety team told Parler's Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff that the social network "does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service".

    "AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we continue to respect Parler's right to determine for itself what content it will allow on its site", the letter said.

    "However we cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others.".

    Parler will be removed from Amazon's web hosting service shortly before midnight on Sunday Pacific Standard Time (07:59 GMT on Monday).

    On Saturday, Apple removed Parler from its app store after warning the network to remove content that violated its rules or face a ban.

    "Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people's safety", it said in a statement announcing the app's suspension on Saturday evening.

    By Shayan Sardarizadeh, BBC Monitoring

    For months, Parler has been one of the most popular social media platforms for right-wing users.

    As major platforms began taking action against viral conspiracy theories, disinformation and the harassment of election workers and officials in the aftermath of the US presidential vote, the app became more popular with elements of the fringe far-right.

    This turned the network into a right-wing echo chamber, almost entirely populated by users fixated on revealing examples of election fraud and posting messages in support of attempts to overturn the election outcome.

    In the days preceding the Capitol riots, the tone of discussion on the app became significantly more violent, with some users openly discussing ways to stop the certification of Joe Biden's victory by Congress.

    Unsubstantiated allegations and defamatory claims against a number of senior US figures such as Chief Justice John Roberts and Vice-President Mike Pence were rife on the app.

    Google and Apple say they are taking necessary action to ensure violent rhetoric is not promoted on their platforms.

    However, to those increasingly concerned about freedom of speech and expression on online platforms, it represents another example of draconian action by major tech companies which threatens internet freedom.

    This is a debate which is certain to continue beyond the Trump presidency.

    Parler: Amazon to remove site from web hosting service
  • Is Amazon going to suspend Parler?

    Later that same night, BuzzFeed reported and CNN confirmed, that Amazon plans to suspend Parler’s account with their web services on Sunday night. Without a web host, the app will go offline until it finds one.
    Apple, Amazon and Google Ban Social Media Platform Parler
  • What happened to AWS Parler?

    AWS provides cloud services to Parler that host its website. By Saturday night, Amazon informed Parler it would no longer provide cloud services to the site, with the suspension taking effect on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. PT.
    Amazon employees demand company drop Parler after Capitol riot
  • Will Parler be banned from Amazon Web Services?

    Social media network Parler may soon find itself forced off the internet if Amazon makes good on its ban to suspend the company's access to Amazon Web Services (AWS). BuzzFeed News reports the platform was advised of its pending suspension from AWS in 24 hours on Saturday, Jan. 9.
    Parler Goes Offline After Amazon Drops AWS Support
Parler has now been booted by Amazon, Apple and Google

10-01-2021 · Parler, the alternative social media platform favored by conservatives, now finds itself virtually homeless on the internet as Amazon, Apple and Google have all …

10-01-2021

(CNN Business)Parler, the alternative social media platform favored by conservatives, now finds itself virtually homeless on the internet as Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOGL) have all booted it from their platforms in a span of a little more than 24 hours.

Amazon said it would remove Parler from its cloud hosting service, Amazon Web Services, Sunday evening, effectively kicking it off of the public internet after mounting pressure from the public and Amazon employees.

The decision, which went into force on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time, will shut down Parler's website and app until it can find a new hosting provider. The Parler website was not accessible early on Monday.

BuzzFeed News was first to report the move. Parler is an alternative social network popular with conservatives and has been heavily used by supporters of President Donald Trump, including some who participated in Wednesday's US Capitol unrest.

In a letter obtained by CNN Business that was sent to Parler Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff on Saturday, Amazon Web Services said that in recent weeks it has reported 98 examples to Parler of "posts that clearly encourage and incite violence." The letter includes screenshots of several examples.

"We've seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms," AWS wrote. "It's clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service."

The letter continued: "AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we continue to respect Parler's right to determine for itself what content it will allow on its site. However, we cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others. Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler's account."

The sweep threatens to cut Parler off from its entire audience. Not only will new users be unable to find Parler on the internet's two largest app stores, even those who've already downloaded the app will be unable to use it because it will be unable to communicate with Parler's servers on AWS.

Indeed, Parler CEO John Matze warned that the deplatforming could lead to service interruptions.

After Amazon boots the company from its web hosting service, Parler's website could be offline for as long as a week while "we rebuild from scratch," Matze said in a post on his platform.

"We will try our best to move to a new provider right now as we have many competing for our business," Matze continued.

Matze accused Amazon of trying to "completely remove free speech off the internet."

The revelation of Amazon's decision came soon after Apple removed Parler from its app store.

"[T]here is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity," the iPhone maker said of its move.

Apple notified Parler of its decision in a message that said it had violated the company's app store terms.

"The processes Parler has put in place to moderate or prevent the spread of dangerous and illegal content have proved insufficient," Apple told Parler. "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."

Apple's notice said Parler's responses to an earlier warning were inadequate, including Parler's defense that it had been taking violent rhetoric on its platform "very seriously for weeks" and that it had a moderation plan "for the time being," according to Apple.

"Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people's safety," Apple said in a statement to CNN Business. "We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues."

Apple's decision followed a similar move by Google on Friday to drop Parler from the Google Play Store.

Matze wrote in a message on his platform that Apple "will be banning Parler until we give up free speech, institute broad and invasive policies like Twitter and Facebook and we become a surveillance platform by pursuing guilt of those who use Parler before innocence."

"They claim it is due to violence on the platform," Matze wrote of Apple, whom he also accused of being a "software monopoly," a particularly relevant attack right now given an ongoing antitrust suit against Apple from Fortnite maker Epic Games. "The community disagrees as we hit number 1 on their store today."

Matze promised to share "more details about our next plans coming soon as we have many options."

Why platforms had to cut off Trump and Parler

11-01-2021 · The social network Parler, a home for Trump supporters too extreme for those big networks, was banned from Apple and Google ’s App Stores and …

11-01-2021
US capitol

Last week saw unprecedented mob violence in our nation’s capital and a huge shift in the internet’s relationship with President Donald Trump. Major sites like Facebook and Twitter, which excused harassment and outright threats from the president for years, banned him in a matter of days. The social network Parler, a home for Trump supporters too extreme for those big networks, was banned from Apple and Google’s App Stores and then by Amazon’s hosting services. As of this morning, the network cannot be accessed in any way.

Skeptics have called the deplatforming a “censorship orgy” or a move to “one-party control of information distribution.” One pundit argued that “big tech has the power to utterly erase you from modern existence” — a strange claim after an attack that resulted in several deaths. Faced with a mass raid on the Capitol, many have instead launched an alternate conversation about the role of platforms in moderating speech.

There are real reasons to be worried about the power of speech platforms like Facebook and particularly infrastructure providers like Amazon. But it’s not true that last week’s actions were unprecedented, and it doesn’t make sense to characterize them as some kind of Stalinist purge. Instead, they are simply a desperate response to a desperate situation — the best option in the face of widespread failures of American government. This kind of mass deplatforming is a last resort. But after one of the most violent and alarming weeks in recent history, it’s a justified one.

First, we should acknowledge the scale of the destruction that platforms are responding to. Six people are dead, and there is real and sustained concern that there will be further violence between now and Inauguration Day. Many of the perpetrators have been apprehended, but nowhere near the entire 8,000 who reportedly participated in the assault. Trump has scheduled another rally at Alamo, Texas, later this week, and the conditions that produced the Capitol raid are still very much in effect. There is no reason all of this could not happen again in the immediate future.

If you want to argue that platforms are overreacting, then it matters what they’re reacting to. The moderation actions of the past week came in response to an immediate deadly attack on the seat of government and an ongoing threat of seditious violence. You can argue that the moderation was poorly targeted or insufficiently explained, but it was entirely proportional to the scale of the threat. Facebook and Twitter’s response is no more extreme than declaring a 15-day state of emergency or mobilizing the National Guard. This is an emergency situation, and it calls for decisive action — from platforms every bit as much as law enforcement. This, for better or worse, is what decisive platform action looks like.

The other concern is that the recent actions will set a bad precedent — but the principles here have been in place for some time. As Jillian York points out, platforms have always reserved the right to take down speech that poses an immediate risk of violence, and applied the same standards to political figures in foreign countries. You may disagree that Parler was being used to organize sedition, but Amazon’s action is entirely in line with previous moves against 8chan and The Daily Stormer. Platforms haven’t always been clear about spelling this out, but it’s the basic principle at work in both the Trump and Parler deplatformings.

What changed last week weren’t the principles of moderation, but the facts on the ground. On January 5th, platforms could dismiss vague threats against Vice President Mike Pence or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as just overheated rhetoric; today, they have to grapple with a real risk of physical violence and sedition. That’s a horrifying shift, and it’s been difficult for players in every corner of US politics to come to grips with it. But tech companies are responding to that change, not causing it.

That’s not to say the bans have been perfectly implemented. There’s been little to no transparency on which Twitter accounts were taken down and why, and such an accounting might reveal significant missteps by the company. (Among other gripes, there’s no real justification for taking down the Red Scare podcast and not Ayatollah Khamenei.) But these mistakes are minor compared to the severity of the situation. The response shouldn’t be inaction, but the kind of comprehensive notice-and-appeal systems that speech advocates have been pushing for years. We need to make platform moderation systems better, not toss them out entirely.

The actions against Parler have been even thornier. There’s been no meaningful accounting of the threatening content that led Parler to be deplatformed, and users of the site are right to demand a clearer explanation. More troubling, it took place at an infrastructure level, where major companies like Amazon and Google maintain a de facto monopoly — a power that’s much more troubling than Twitter’s power over its own network. Major platforms have always hosted ugly stuff, but they’ve maintained a public commitment to moderating potentially harmful speech — a commitment that Parler has conspicuously avoided. The result was a consistent and public refusal to moderate Stop The Steal activists, which forced Amazon to confront the same ugly choice as Facebook and Twitter before it. Ultimately, the company made the same decision.

At the bottom of it all is the sense that tech companies are leading our response to last week’s horror when it would be better led by elected officials, law enforcement, or even (God help us) the media. Tech companies would certainly agree with this. Facebook and Amazon never set out to be the least-craven institutions in US political discourse, and the moment someone else arrives to take that mantle, they will be thrilled to hand it off.

Unfortunately, we are living through an era of institutional failure. There were many, many chances to avoid what happened last week and many, many failures. We should all hope for a future in which this kind of mass-deplatforming is not necessary and work toward it. In the meantime, we have to deal with the world and the country as it really is.

Parler Faces Extinction as Amazon Employees Demand AWS ...

10-01-2021 · A coalition of Amazon corporate employees have demanded that the Seattle-based megacorp kick Parler off the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform unless ‘posts inciting violence’ are removed, which would force the Trump-friendly Twitter competitor to find another host. According to CNBC, an employee advocacy group – Amazon Employees for Climate Justice – said in a Saturday tweet that AWS should …

10-01-2021

A coalition of Amazon corporate employees have demanded that the Seattle-based megacorp kick Parler off the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform unless ‘posts inciting violence’ are removed, which would force the Trump-friendly Twitter competitor to find another host.

According to CNBC, an employee advocacy group – Amazon Employees for Climate Justice – said in a Saturday tweet that AWS should “deny Parler services until it removes posts inciting violence, including at the Presidential inauguration.”

Enough is enough. Amazon hosts Parler on @awscloud.

As Amazon workers, we demand Amazon deny Parler services until it removes posts inciting violence, including at the Presidential inauguration.

We cannot be complicit in more bloodshed and violent attacks on our democracy.

— Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (@AMZNforClimate) January 9, 2021

More via CNBC:

Pressure has been mounting for Amazon to stop hosting Parler on AWS after other tech giants took action against the social media app in the wake of the deadly U.S. Capitol riot earlier this week. Google on Friday removed Parler from its app store for Android users, Google Play Store. BuzzFeed News reported on Friday that Apple has threatened to pull Parler from its App Store.

Parler, which launched in 2018, has emerged as a popular platform for President Trump’s allies in the last year by billing itself as a free speech alternative to mainstream social media services like Twitter and Facebook. –CNBC

To justify censoring Parler, critics have pointed to posts calling for ‘firing squads’ – like one from attorney Lin Wood (who some say handed the Senate to the Democrats by openly calling for Georgians not to vote in the runoff election unless the GOP candidates backed Trump’s election fraud claims).

In 2019, Amazon pulled the plug on their AWS partnership with Twitter alternative GAB over user posts. CEO Andrew Torba essentially blamed the CIA – claiming that a “PSYOP campaign started back in early December” in which newly created accounts were “popping up out of nowhere and making threats of violence.”

Torba’s letter continues:

After this week, it’s clear why this PSYOP was started: to take down alt-tech platforms and frame them for the January 6th protests that ended with the police killing an unarmed woman.

Almost instantly after police allowed protestors into the Capitol the New York Times started a baseless narrative that this protest was organized on alt-tech sites, and in particular on Gab, without offering any proof, screenshots, usernames, or evidence to back these baseless claims. I’ve recorded a video highlighting how this all played out. I hope you’ll take some time to watch it to learn how the CIA Mockingbird Media complex operates. The way we fight back is with truth and by speaking truth to their power, which is quickly fading. 

Meanwhile, Parler has jumped to the #1 app in Apple’s app store.

Parler saw approximately 210,000 installs globally on Friday 1/8, up 281% from approximately 55,000 on 1/7, according to data from the analytics service Sensor Tower. “In the U.S., the app saw approximately 182,000 first-time downloads on 1/8, up 355% from about 40,000 installs on 1/7. Since Wednesday, the app has seen approximately 268,000 installs from across U.S. app stores,” a press rep from Sensor Tower wrote in an email. – TechCrunch

And as conservatives scramble to download the app before it’s deplatformed at yet another social media giant, we now have to wonder if they’ll even be able to find a new home among a collusive constellation of big-tech – at least one of which used to value the phrase ‘think different.’

Republished from ZeroHedge.com with permission

Here's Why Amazon Stock Plunged Today

30-07-2021 · As of 3:15 p.m. EDT, Amazon's stock price was down more than 7%. So what Amazon's net sales jumped 27% year over year to a staggering 3.1 …

30-07-2021

Shares of Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) fell on Friday following the release of the e-commerce giant's second-quarter results. As of 3:15 p.m. EDT, Amazon's stock price was down more than 7%. 

So what

Amazon's net sales jumped 27% year over year to a staggering 3.1 billion, fueled by strong gains in its cloud computing and advertising businesses. Amazon Web Services (AWS) delivered revenue growth of 37%, up from 32% in the first quarter. Amazon's "other" segment, which is mostly comprised of advertising-related sales, saw even more impressive gains, with revenue rising a blistering 87%.

The strong performances of these high-margin businesses helped Amazon's net income soar 50% to .8 billion, or .12 per share. That was well above Wall Street's consensus estimate for earnings per share of .30. 

Finger pointing to a red and green stock chart that rises sharply and then falls.
Amazon.com's shares sank on Friday. Image source: Getty Images.

Still, investors appeared to focus on Amazon's subdued guidance. Management sees revenue growth decelerating to between 10% and 16% in the third quarter as Amazon laps the torrid gains it experienced during the early stages of the coronavirus crisis. 

Now what

Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said during a conference call with analysts that Amazon's e-commerce growth is slowing as the economy reopens. "I think the impact of people getting vaccinated and getting out in the world, not only shopping offline, but also living life and getting out, it takes away from shopping time," Olsavsky said. 

Amazon's planned investments in its fulfillment network could also weigh on its profits in the second half of the year. Investors, however, should note that it's these types of investments that have helped the company achieve its dominant competitive position in the online retail and cloud infrastructure markets. Moreover, Amazon's current spending is likely to further strengthen its advantages over its rivals, thereby boosting its long-term profit potential. 

As a result, patient investors may wish to view today's sell-off as an opportunity to buy shares in this e-commerce and cloud titan at a sizable discount.

Amazon Is Suspending Parler From AWS

Last updated on January 9, 2021, at 10:08 p.m. ET Posted on January 9, 2021, at 9:07 p.m. ET Tweet Share Copy Parler A screenshot included in Amazon's letter to Parler. Amazon notified Parler that it would be cutting off the social network favored by conservatives and extremists from its cloud hosting service Amazon Web Services, according to an email obtained by BuzzFeed News. The …

Amazon notified Parler that it would be cutting off the social network favored by conservatives and extremists from its cloud hosting service Amazon Web Services, according to an email obtained by BuzzFeed News. The suspension, which will go into effect on Sunday just before midnight, means that Parler will be unable to operate and will go offline unless it can find another hosting service.

People on Parler used the social network to stoke fear, spread hate, and allegedly coordinate the insurrection at the Capitol building on Wednesday. The app has recently been overrun with death threats, celebrations of violence, and posts encouraging “Patriots” to march on Washington, DC, with weapons on Jan. 19, the day before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

In an email obtained by BuzzFeed News, an AWS Trust and Safety team told Parler Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff that the calls for violence propagating across the social network violated its terms of service. Amazon said it was unconvinced that the service’s plan to use volunteers to moderate calls for violence and hate speech would be effective.

“Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms," the email reads. "It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service.”

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on the suspension.

In a post on Saturday evening following publication of this story, Parler CEO John Matze, who did not return a request for comment from BuzzFeed News, said it is possible the social network "will be unavailable on the internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch."

"This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place," he wrote on Parler. "We were too successful too fast."

On Parler, reaction to the impending ban was swift and outraged, with some discussing violence against Amazon. "It would be a pity if someone with explosives training were to pay a visit to some AWS data centers," one person wrote.

Amazon's move comes after Apple banned Parler from its App Store on Saturday afternoon, after the platform failed to introduce a moderation plan to protect public safety. On Friday, Apple gave Parler 24 hours to mitigate the "planning of illegal and dangerous activities" occurring on its service or face expulsion, BuzzFeed News first reported. Google has also suspended Parler from its Google Play app store.

On Saturday, ahead of Apple's expected banning from the App Store, people rushed to download Parler's app, making it the most downloaded free app. While people will still be able to use Parler on their iPhones after the App Store ban, the social media company will not be able to distribute updates through Apple's services.

Amazon's move, however, will remove the infrastructure from which Parler operates.

Parler, which was launched in 2018, has become a safe haven for people banned by popular sites including Facebook and Twitter. The Henderson, Nevada–based company has billed itself as a free speech alternative to mainstream social networks and taken a more relaxed approach to content moderation, attracting conspiracy theorists, hate group members, and right-wing activists who have openly incited violence.

Recent threads on Parler have called for the execution of Vice President Mike Pence and encouraged the conspiracy theory that left-wing antifa activists were behind Wednesday’s events.

Republican lawmakers including Sen. Ted Cruz and Congressman Devin Nunes as well as President Donald Trump’s family members and surrogates have all established Parler accounts, and have publicly encouraged their supporters to join them there. So too have many figures in conservative media.

Amazon's email to Parler also contained examples from the platform of calls for the assassinations of lawmakers, members of the media, and activists.

“[W]e cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others,” the email continues. “Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST.”

On Amazon Web Services, Parler had gone from a negligible spend to paying more than 0,000 a month for hosting, according to multiple sources.

Amazon employees had publicly called for an AWS ban of Parler, and a Change.org petition calling for the same thing had amassed thousands of signatures this week. Multiple employees had also filed internal complaints to AWS management citing hate speech on the social network.

Here is Amazon’s letter to Parler in full.

Dear Amy,

Thank you for speaking with us earlier today.

As we discussed on the phone yesterday and this morning, we remain troubled by the repeated violations of our terms of service. Over the past several weeks, we’ve reported 98 examples to Parler of posts that clearly encourage and incite violence. Here are a few examples below from the ones we’ve sent previously: [See images above.]

Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms. It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service. It also seems that Parler is still trying to determine its position on content moderation. You remove some violent content when contacted by us or others, but not always with urgency. Your CEO recently stated publicly that he doesn’t “feel responsible for any of this, and neither should the platform.” This morning, you shared that you have a plan to more proactively moderate violent content, but plan to do so manually with volunteers. It’s our view that this nascent plan to use volunteers to promptly identify and remove dangerous content will not work in light of the rapidly growing number of violent posts. This is further demonstrated by the fact that you still have not taken down much of the content that we’ve sent you. 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.

AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we continue to respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow on its site. However, we cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others. Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST. We will ensure that all of your data is preserved for you to migrate to your own servers, and will work with you as best as we can to help your migration.

- AWS Trust & Safety Team

Parler: Amazon to remove site from web hosting ...

If Parler fails to find a new web hosting service by Sunday evening, the entire network will go offline. Parler styles itself as an "unbiased" social media and has proved popular with people ...

Amazon is removing "free speech" social network Parler from its web hosting service for violating rules.

If Parler fails to find a new web hosting service by Sunday evening, the entire network will go offline.

Parler styles itself as an "unbiased" social media and has proved popular with people banned from Twitter.

Amazon told Parler it had found 98 posts on the site that encouraged violence. Apple and Google have removed the app from their stores.

Launched in 2018, Parler has proved particularly popular among supporters of US President Donald Trump and right-wing conservatives. Such groups have frequently accused Twitter and Facebook of unfairly censoring their views.

While Mr Trump himself is not a user, the platform already features several high-profile contributors following earlier bursts of growth in 2020.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz boasts 4.9 million followers on the platform, while Fox News host Sean Hannity has about seven million.

The move comes after Apple suspended Parler from its app store. The suspension will remain in place for as long as the network continued to spread posts that incite violence, it said.

Responding to Google's move earlier, Parler's chief executive John Matze said: "We won't cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech!"

It briefly became the most-downloaded app in the United States after the US election, following a clampdown on the spread of election misinformation by Twitter and Facebook.

In a letter obtained by CNN, Amazon's AWS Trust and Safety team told Parler's Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff that the social network "does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service".

"AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we continue to respect Parler's right to determine for itself what content it will allow on its site", the letter said.

"However we cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others.".

Parler will be removed from Amazon's web hosting service shortly before midnight on Sunday Pacific Standard Time (07:59 GMT on Monday).

On Saturday, Apple removed Parler from its app store after warning the network to remove content that violated its rules or face a ban.

"Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people's safety", it said in a statement announcing the app's suspension on Saturday evening.

By Shayan Sardarizadeh, BBC Monitoring

For months, Parler has been one of the most popular social media platforms for right-wing users.

As major platforms began taking action against viral conspiracy theories, disinformation and the harassment of election workers and officials in the aftermath of the US presidential vote, the app became more popular with elements of the fringe far-right.

This turned the network into a right-wing echo chamber, almost entirely populated by users fixated on revealing examples of election fraud and posting messages in support of attempts to overturn the election outcome.

In the days preceding the Capitol riots, the tone of discussion on the app became significantly more violent, with some users openly discussing ways to stop the certification of Joe Biden's victory by Congress.

Unsubstantiated allegations and defamatory claims against a number of senior US figures such as Chief Justice John Roberts and Vice-President Mike Pence were rife on the app.

Google and Apple say they are taking necessary action to ensure violent rhetoric is not promoted on their platforms.

However, to those increasingly concerned about freedom of speech and expression on online platforms, it represents another example of draconian action by major tech companies which threatens internet freedom.

This is a debate which is certain to continue beyond the Trump presidency.

Apple and Google Play suspend Parler for failure to ...

Amazon should deny Parler services until Jan 21 unless they commit to removing all posts related to incitement of violence concerning inauguration," Khanna tweeted. "This will …

By Li Cohen

/ CBS News

Parler, a social media site that prides itself on allowing unrestricted freedom of speech, has been suspended from Apple's app store and Google Play for failing to moderate content that incites violence. The suspensions come as multiple social media companies are cracking down on posts that promote violence in the wake of the assault on the U.S. Capitol. 

Apple said on Saturday that while it has "always supported diverse points of view" on the app store, "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," the company said in a statement. "We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues."

Prior to its removal from the app store, Apple told Parler's developers that their measures for addressing "dangerous and objectionable content" are "inadequate." 

"Parler has not upheld its commitment to moderate and remove harmful or dangerous content encouraging violence and illegal activity," Apple told Parler. "...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."

According to Apple, Parler said that it would initiate a moderation plan "for the time being" and that they would create a temporary "task force." 

Parler will not be reinstated in the app store unless Apple receives "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."

A Google spokesperson said the suspension initiated on Friday was made "in order to protect user safety." 

"Our longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like posts that incite violence," a company spokesperson said. "All developers agree to these terms and we have reminded Parler of this clear policy in recent months." 

The company said it's aware of "continued posting" in the app that "seeks to incite ongoing violence in the U.S," adding that "In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app's listings from the Play Store until it addresses these issues." 

There have been dozens of posts on the app that encourage users to partake in actions similar to those of Trump supporters rioting at the Capitol on Wednesday. 

screen-shot-2021-01-08-at-6-20-30-pm.png
A post on Parler advertising a "million militia march."

One post that was published on Thursday includes a banner for a "million militia march" to be held on January 20, the day President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated.

"The time for peaceful protests has past they're stealing this election," the post reads. "...#CallToArms take back our country." 

The Google spokesperson said that the company recognizes content policies are debatable and that immediately removing content that violates the policy can be "difficult," but that moderating "egregious content" is required by apps nonetheless. 

The suspension comes hours after many pointed out how calls for violence on the app have intensified since Wednesday.

What are @Apple and @GooglePlay doing about this? https://t.co/Upb2BxZOQZ

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 8, 2021

One post, highlighted by New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, calls the rioters "patriots" who were "carrying banners of support for the greatest President the world has ever known" and said they will return to the area on January 19, weapons in tow. 

"What are @Apple and @GooglePlay doing about this?" Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. 

California Representative Ro Khanna called on Amazon to follow in Google Play's footsteps, as the app is hosted by Amazon Web Services." Amazon should deny Parler services until Jan 21 unless they commit to removing all posts related to incitement of violence concerning inauguration," Khanna tweeted. "This will help prevent further violence and save lives."

The suspension on the app store came soon after Twitter announced that President Trump has been permanently banned from using his personal Twitter account.

Twitter's announcement sparked fury on Parler, leading some users to call for war. "The United States of America has been taken over by the Communist Party today. You no longer have freedom of speech. They're coming for your guns next," one post says. "Civil War is coming."

"This might seem like a harsh call, but WAR is upon us. We didn't want this, but when the enemy shuts down every form of communication for patriots to get our story out to the public unfiltered there really is no other option. This is our time for #civilwar2," another post reads.

Parler CEO John Matze posted on his Parler account Friday afternoon that "we will not cave to pressure from anti-competitive actors."

"We will and always have enforced our rules against violence and illegal activity. But we WONT cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech," he said.

Matze also posted a photo from the Apple app store Resolution Center regarding "serious App Store guideline violations."

"We want to be clear that Parler is in fact responsible for all the user generated content present on your service and for ensuring that this content meets App Store requirements for the safety and protection of our users. We won't distribute apps that present dangerous and harmful content," Apple said, according to the screenshot.

Anyone who buys an Apple phone is apparently a user. Apperently they know what is best for you by telling you which apps you may and may not use. Apparently they believe Parler is responsible for ALL user generated content on Parler. Therefor by the same logic, Apple must be responsible for ALL actions taken by their phones. Every car bomb, every illegal cell phone conversation, every illegal crime committed on an iPhone, Apple must also be responsible for.... Standards not applied to Twitter, Facebook or even Apple themselves, apply to Parler.

-- John Matze 🇺🇸 John Friday, January 8, 2021

Matze mocked the message, saying "apparently they know what is best for you by telling you which apps you may and may not use."

"Apparently they believe Parler is responsible for ALL user generated content on Parler. Therefor by the same logic, Apple must be responsible for ALL actions taken by their phones. Every car bomb, every illegal cell phone conversation, every illegal crime committed on an iPhone," Matze said.

Musadiq Bidar contributed to this report.

Li Cohen
li.jpg

Li Cohen is a social media producer and trending reporter for CBS News, focusing on social justice issues.

Amazon, Apple and Google Cut Off Parler, an App That Drew ...

10-01-2021 · Parler, he said, would probably be unavailable on the internet for up to a week, starting at midnight on Sunday. But, he went on, the company had “prepared” by not relying on Amazon’s ...

10-01-2021

Parler, a social network that pitches itself as a “free speech” alternative to Twitter and Facebook, is suffering from whiplash.

Over the past several months, Parler has become one of the fastest-growing apps in the United States. Millions of President Trump’s supporters have flocked to it as Facebook and Twitter increasingly cracked down on posts that spread misinformation and incited violence, including muzzling Mr. Trump by removing his accounts this past week. By Saturday morning, Apple listed Parler as the No. 1 free app for its iPhones.

But, by Saturday night, Parler was suddenly fighting for its life.

First, Apple and Google removed the app from their app stores because they said it had not sufficiently policed its users’ posts, allowing too many that encouraged violence and crime. Then, late Saturday, Amazon told Parler it would boot the company from its web-hosting service on Sunday night because of repeated violations of Amazon’s rules.

Amazon’s move meant that Parler’s entire platform would soon go offline unless it was able to find a new hosting service on Sunday.

“Big tech really wants to kill competition,” John Matze, Parler’s chief executive, said in a text message. “And I have a lot of work to do in the next 24 hours to make sure everyone’s data is not permanently deleted off the internet.”

In a statement online, Mr. Matze added that the tech giants had acted in a “coordinated effort” to “completely remove free speech off the internet.” Parler, he said, would probably be unavailable on the internet for up to a week, starting at midnight on Sunday. But, he went on, the company had “prepared” by not relying on Amazon’s proprietary infrastructure and was looking for a new hosting provider.

A day earlier, Parler appeared poised to capitalize on growing anger at Silicon Valley in conservative circles and was even a logical choice to become Mr. Trump’s next megaphone after he was kicked off Twitter. Now its future is looking bleak.

In a letter to Parler on Saturday, Amazon said that it had sent the company 98 examples of posts on its site that encouraged violence and that many remained active. “It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with” Amazon’s rules, the company said in the letter. Amazon “provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we continue to respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow on its site. However, we cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others.”

On Friday, Apple gave Parler 24 hours to clean up its app or face removal from its App Store. Parler appeared to take down some posts over that period, but on Saturday, Apple told the company its measures were inadequate. “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,” Apple said in a statement.

“This is very huge,” Amy Peikoff, Parler’s policy chief, told Fox News after Apple gave its warning on Friday. Without access to the App Store, she said, “we’re toast.”

Several Parler executives accused the tech companies’ moves as being politically motivated and anticompetitive.

Mr. Matze pointed to the fact that Twitter had recently promoted the phrase “Hang Mike Pence” as a trending topic. (The majority of the discussion on Twitter was about rioters chanting the phrase about the vice president on Wednesday.) “I have seen no evidence Apple is going after them,” Mr. Matze said. “This would appear to be an unfair double standard as every other social media site has the same issues, arguably on a worse scale.”

The actions against Parler were part of a wider crackdown by tech companies on President Trump and some of his most extreme supporters after Wednesday’s deadly riot in Washington. But unlike Twitter and Facebook, which make decisions about the content that appears on their own sites, Amazon, Apple and Google weighed in on how another company was operating.

Amazon Web Services supports a large share of the websites and apps across the internet, while Apple and Google make the operating systems that back nearly all of the world’s smartphones. Now that the companies have made it clear that they will take action against sites and apps that don’t sufficiently police what their users post, it could have significant side effects.

Several upstarts have courted Mr. Trump’s supporters with promises of “unbiased” and “free speech” social networks, which have proven to be, in effect, free-for-all digital town squares where users hardly have to worry about getting banned for spreading conspiracy theories, making threats or posting hate speech. The tougher enforcement from the tech companies could preclude such apps from becoming realistic alternatives to the mainstream social networks. They now face the choice of either stepping up their policing of posts — undercutting their main feature in the process — or losing their ability to reach a wide audience.

That may reinforce the primacy of the social-media incumbents, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It also gives those companies’ decisions more teeth. If they ban a pundit for violating their rules, that person will lack a strong alternative.

Amazon, Apple and Google’s moves could also spur other apps to strengthen their enforcement.

DLive, a livestreaming site that rioters storming the Capitol used to broadcast the moment, said on Friday that it had indefinitely suspended seven channels and permanently removed over 100 previous broadcasts of the mob. It added that the “lemons,” a DLive currency that can be converted into real money, sent to the suspended channels would be refunded to donors in the next few days.

Other platforms that host posts by right-wing influencers, including CloutHub and MyMilitia — a forum for militia groups — adjusted their terms of service recently to ban threats of violence.

DLive was pressured by Tipalti, a payment company that helps it operate. Tipalti said in a statement that it had suspended its service until DLive removed the accounts that had broadcast the riots on Wednesday.

Card 1 of 10

Such third-party companies that help apps and websites function, from payment processors to cybersecurity firms to web-hosting providers like Amazon, have used their positions to influence how their customers handle extremist or criminal activity. In 2019, Cloudflare, a company that protects sites from cyberattacks, effectively delivered the death knell to 8chan, an anonymous online message board that hosted the manifesto of a mass shooter, by halting its protections for the site. After Cloudflare backed away from 8chan, the site struggled to find other service providers that could keep it active.

Parler could have the same problem now that it lacked a way to host its website, particularly as the company suddenly became a pariah after Wednesday’s riot, which was partially planned on Parler. Amazon had faced pressure from its own employees and at least one member of Congress before it pulled its support for Parler, and other companies could fear unwanted attention if they took its business.

BuzzFeed News first reported Amazon’s decision to pull its support for Parler.

If Parler is able to find a provider and resume its service, it will still have an uphill journey to find new users without a place in the major app stores. Apple’s decision blocks iPhone owners from downloading the Parler app. People who already have the app will still be able to use it — if it comes back online — but their versions of the app will soon become obsolete as Apple updates the iPhone software.

Google cut Parler out of its flagship Android app store, but it also allows apps to be downloaded from elsewhere, meaning Android users would still be able to find the Parler app, just with a bit more work. If Parler finds a new web-hosting provider, its website would also be available via web browsers on phones and computers.

After Apple had given the company 24 hours to improve its moderation to avoid removal from the App Store, it appeared that Parler had tried to remove some posts that seemed to call for violence.

For instance, L. Lin Wood, a lawyer who had sued to overturn Mr. Trump’s election loss, posted on Parler on Thursday morning: “Get the firing squad ready. Pence goes FIRST.” The post was viewed at least 788,000 times, according to a screenshot on the Internet Archive. By Saturday morning, the post had been removed.

In a text message, Mr. Matze said the post had been removed “in compliance with Parler’s terms of service and rules against incitement of violence.”

In a notice to Parler on Saturday, Apple said that it had “continued to find direct threats of violence and calls to incite lawless action” on the app. Apple told the company its app would not be allowed on the App Store until “you have demonstrated your ability to effectively moderate and filter the dangerous and harmful content on your service.”

In an interview, Jeffrey Wernick, Parler’s chief operating officer, blamed “a cancel culture” at the tech companies for his company’s dimming prospects. He said he would advise other platforms not to try to compete on Apple’s App Store. “Because if you raise money and get investors and end up like Parler, what’s the point?” he said.

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Apple and Google said they would remove Parler from its App Stores. Amazon said it would no longer host Parler on its web hosting service.

Read Document
4 reasons why Amazon stock is getting nailed

Recall that a year ago at this time Amazon was posting mind-blowing sales gains as the pandemic kept consumers inside and ordering online to an extent never seen before. Amazon execs …

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Amazon cuts off Parler’s Web hosting following Apple ...

10-01-2021 · Amazon cuts off Parler’s Web hosting following Apple, Google bans The app will need to find new Web hosting by Sunday or go offline. Kate Cox - …

10-01-2021
Amazon cuts off Parler’s Web hosting following Apple, Google bans

Amazon Web Services is suspending Parler's access to its hosting services at the end of the weekend, potentially driving the service offline unless it can find a new provider.

"Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST," Amazon wrote to Parler in an email obtained and first reported by BuzzFeed.

The email from AWS to Parler cites several examples of violent and threatening posts made in recent days, including threats to "systematically assassinate liberal leaders, liberal activists, BLM leaders and supporters," and others. "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 message adds.

Parler launched in 2018 as a "free speech" alternative to Twitter and Facebook. Through 2019 and 2020, it drew a number of conservative, right-wing, and far-right fringe users. Usage has dramatically increased in the past few days in the wake of Wednesday's events at the US Capitol and President Donald Trump's subsequent total ban from Twitter and other platforms.

That increased traffic has also brought increased threats of violence to the platform, which technology companies across the board seem to be taking more seriously after this week—and no wonder, as the insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol made widespread use of social media to plan, carry out, and brag about their activity.

Parler, however, has not articulated a clear plan for dealing with violent threats on its platform. As Amazon wrote:

It's clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service. It also seems that Parler is still trying to determine its position on content moderation. You remove some violent content when contacted by us or others, but not always with urgency. Your CEO recently stated publicly that he doesn’t "feel responsible for any of this, and neither should the platform." This morning, you shared that you have a plan to more proactively moderate violent content, but plan to do so manually with volunteers. It’s our view that this nascent plan to use volunteers to promptly identify and remove dangerous content will not work in light of the rapidly growing number of violent posts.

Apple also removed Parler from its iOS App Store earlier today, citing similar concerns.

"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," Apple wrote. "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 already booted Parler from its app store on Friday, also citing the prevalence of explicitly violent content left up on the platform.

Amazon’s Stock May Drop Further Despite Big Earnings Beat

28-10-2020 · Amazon reported blow-out third quarter results on October 29, easily beating analysts’ expectations. But it still may not have been enough!

28-10-2020

02 April 2020, Brandenburg, Kiekebusch: The logo of Amazon, (Amazon.com, Inc., listed US-American ... [ ] online mail order company), at the mail order warehouse in Kiekebusch, a district of the municipality of Schönefeld in the district of Dahme-Spreewald. Photo: Patrick Pleul/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB (Photo by Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images)

dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN)  reported blow-out third quarter results on October 29, easily beating analysts’ expectations. But it may be a disappointment on Amazon’s Web Services business that turned the stock lower by almost 2% in the after-hours session.

The equity has had a tremendous move in 2020. However, the stock isn’t cheap, with the shares trading at its highest valuation in years. The technical chart wasn’t in great shape heading into results either.

AWS

According to data from Refinitiv, analysts were looking for third quarter AWS revenue in a range of .2 billion to .9 billion, or .57 billion at the mid-point. Revenue did come in better than the mid-point of the range at .6 billion. Still, it is likely the disappointment that AWS didn’t come above the high end, which turned the shares lower. Additionally, AWS had revenue growth for its second quarter in a row below 30%, coming in at 29%.

While the miss appears minor on the surface, AWS is the high margin part of Amazon’s business. It accounts for the majority of Amazon’s operating income. In the third quarter, Amazon had a total operating income of roughly .2 billion; AWS represented 57% of that operating income, or approximately .5 billion.

Guidance

Additionally,  the company is guiding operating income in a range of

billion to .5 billion, or .7 billion at the mid-point.  That is lower than the operating income of about .9 billion a year ago, a drop of over 29%.

The operating income decline is surprising since the company is guiding revenue to a range of 2 billion to 1 billion, or 6.5 billion at the mid-point, growth of about 33%. That is much better than analysts’ estimates for 2.3 billion. Still, the strong topline growth and declining operating income indicate the company is likely to be spending a lot.

Amazon technical chart

Tradingview

Meanwhile, the chart has a bearish take to it with the potential for a double top reversal pattern marked by the two peaks around a price of ,250. It could even trigger a very sharp decline in the shares to potentially as low as ,465.  For that pattern to work, the stock would first need to drop below a technical support level of around ,900.  Additionally, the relative strength index also suggests lower prices lie ahead because it has been trending lower, indicating the momentum is leaving the stock.

Amazon price to sales ratio

Refinitiv

The stock isn’t cheap, currently trading at a price to sales multiple at the upper end of its 20-year range. This means that investors may continue to be super critical of the smallest issue that comes up down the road.

Michael Kramer is a financial market strategist and the portfolio manager of the Mott Capital Thematic Growth Portfolio.

Mott Capital Management, LLC is a registered investment adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Upon request, the advisor will provide a list of all recommendations made during the past twelve months. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Parler social network sues Amazon for pulling support ...

Parler has hit back after Amazon pulled support for its so-called "free speech" social network. Parler is suing the tech giant, accusing it of breaking anti-trust laws by removing it .

Parler has hit back after Amazon pulled support for its so-called "free speech" social network.

Parler had been reliant on the tech giant's Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing service to provide its alternative to Twitter.

The platform was popular among supporters of Donald Trump, although the president is not a user.

Amazon took the action after finding dozens of posts on the service that it said encouraged violence.

In response, the platform has asked a federal judge to order Amazon to reinstate it.

"AWS's decision to effectively terminate Parler's account is apparently motivated by political animus," the complaint reads.

"It is also apparently designed to reduce competition in the microblogging services market to the benefit of Twitter."

Amazon has issued a statement in response.

"There is no merit to these claims," it said.

"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, it is clear that there is significant content on Parler that encourages and incites violence against others, and that Parler is unable or unwilling to promptly identify and remove this content, which is a violation of our terms of service.

"We made our concerns known to Parler over a number of weeks and during that time we saw a significant increase in this type of dangerous content, not a decrease, which led to our suspension of their services Sunday evening."

Examples Amazon had provided included posts calling for the killing of Democrats, Muslims, Black Lives Matter leaders, and mainstream media journalists.

Google and Apple had already removed Parler from their app stores towards the end of last week saying it had failed to comply with their content-moderation requirements.

However, it had still been accessible via the web - although visitors had complained of being unable to create new accounts over the weekend, without which it was not possible to view its content.

Parler has been online since 2018, and may return if it can find an alternative host.

However, chief executive John Matze told Fox News on Sunday that "every vendor from text message services to email providers to our lawyers all ditched us too".

"We're going to try our best to get back online as quickly as possible, but we're having a lot of trouble because every vendor we talk to says they won't work with us because if Apple doesn't approve and Google doesn't approve, they won't," he added.

AWS's move is the latest in a series of actions affecting social media following the rioting on Capitol Hill last week.

Media caption,
Capitol riots: ‘We would have been murdered’

Facebook and Twitter have also banned President Trump's accounts on their platforms, citing concerns that he might incite further violence.

Parler's users included the Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who had led an effort in the Senate to delay certifying Joe Biden's electoral college victory.

He had about five million followers on the platform - more than his tally on Twitter.

Image caption,
Parler's app now shows an error message and its website is offline

"Why should a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires have a monopoly on political speech?" he tweeted over the weekend.

Parler's downfall appears to have benefited Gab - another "free speech" social network that is popular with far-right commentators.

It has claimed to have "gained more users in the past two days than we did in our first two years of existing".

Parler has long been a home for what you might call untouchables, people who had been excluded from mainstream services for offences such as blatant racism or incitement to violence.

During a brief excursion onto the site over the weekend, I observed plenty of examples of such behaviour, with users exhibiting vile anti-Semitism, displaying Nazi symbols such as the swastika and uttering incoherent threats against those they perceive to be enemies of America.

But as Amazon's deadline approached something like panic took hold, with users desperately urging their followers to join them on other platforms.

Most seemed to accept that Parler was doomed, while vowing to continue their fight elsewhere.

"Well this is the end," wrote one user, who proclaimed his support for the American Nazi Party.

  • Amazon
  • Apps
  • Donald Trump
  • Censorship
Judge Refuses To Reinstate Parler After Amazon Shut It ...

21-01-2021 · A federal judge has refused to restore the social media site Parler after Amazon kicked the company off of its Web-hosting services over content seen as inciting violence. The decision is a blow ...

21-01-2021

Even before Amazon booted Parler off its Web service, Apple and Google had banned it from their respective app stores.

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

A federal judge has refused to restore the social media site Parler after Amazon kicked the company off of its Web-hosting services over content seen as inciting violence.

The decision is a blow to Parler, an upstart that has won over Trump loyalists for its relatively hands-off approach to moderating content. The company sued Amazon over its ban, demanding reinstatement.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein sided with Amazon, which argued that Parler would not take down posts threatening public safety even in the wake of the attack on the U.S. Capitol and that it is within Amazon's rights to punish the company over its refusal.

"The Court rejects any suggestion that the public interest favors requiring [Amazon Web Services] to host the incendiary speech that the record shows some of Parler's users have engaged in," Rothstein wrote on Thursday. "At this stage, on the showing made thus far, neither the public interest nor the balance of equities favors granting an injunction in this case."

Parler's looser rules of engagement also attracted far-right activists among the some 15 million users who, the company says, posted messages before Amazon pulled the plug.

That anything-goes philosophy ran headlong into demands that social media platforms be held accountable for allowing rioters to discuss plans to storm the Capitol on the day Congress was certifying President Biden's election.

Shortly after the Jan. 6 attack, Parler began to feel the squeeze. First, Google and Apple banned it from their app stores, which made it nearly impossible to download the app. Then Amazon's Web-hosting services, Amazon Web Services, terminated Parler's account.

Parler filed a lawsuit, arguing that Amazon's crackdown was driven by "political animus." Parler contended that the tech giant was abusing its power and attempting to kneecap a competitor.

In submissions to the court, Parler said Amazon's severing ties threatened Parler with "extinction."

An attorney for Parler wrote that the last six Web hosts the company has approached have refused to work with the site.

Yet the website recently flicked back on as essentially no more than a welcome page. It promised to return soon with the message: "We will not let civil discourse perish!"

Judge: Amazon doesn't have to host "abusive, violent content"

In defending against the suit, Amazon considered the matter a simple case of breach of contract. The company flagged dozens of posts advocating violence, which is against its policies, and Parler failed to remove the posts, according to Amazon's attorneys. The posts cited by Amazon include violent threats directed at Twitter's Jack Dorsey, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and leaders in the Democratic Party.

In defending its decision to boot Parler off its Web services, Amazon pointed to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the much-debated 1996 federal law that prevents people from suing Internet companies over what users post.

The law also lets tech companies create and enforce rules over what is allowed and not allowed on their sites.

"That is precisely what AWS did here: removed access to content it considered 'excessively violent' and 'harassing,' " attorneys for Amazon wrote in a submission to the court.

In her opinion, Rothstein agreed with Amazon, ruling that Parler's antitrust claim is "dwindlingly slight" and that the breach of contract argument "failed." She wrote that it was Parler, not Amazon, that violated the terms of the contract.

She pointed to the rioters who stormed the Capitol and documented their violent acts on Parler.

"The Court explicitly rejects any suggestion that the balance of equities or the public interest favors obligating AWS to host the kind of abusive, violent content at issue in this case, particularly in light of the recent riots at the U.S. Capitol," Rothstein wrote. "That event was a tragic reminder that inflammatory rhetoric can — more swiftly and easily than many of us would have hoped — turn a lawful protest into a violent insurrection."

Rothstein did not dismiss the lawsuit outright but rather rejected Parler's request for a preliminary injunction. That said, the decision does not bode well for the future of Parler's legal fight.

Parler is expected to appeal.

In a statement, Jeffrey Wernick, Parler's chief operating officer, said Rothstein not dismissing the case outright was notable. "We remain confident that we will ultimately prevail in the main case," he said.

Meanwhile, Parler is struggling to resuscitate its social network.

David Groesbeck, a lawyer representing Parler, told the court that the company's hope that it could quickly find a new Web-hosting service has not come to fruition, creating a dire situation that Parler's CEO has said could spell the death of the site.

"The notoriety and fallout from the break-up have driven away current and potential business partners, utterly frustrating Parler's pre-termination plans to quickly replace and recover from AWS," Groesbeck wrote in a recent filing.

Parler, which is funded in part by Rebekah Mercer, a major donor of former President Donald Trump, has discussed housing its own servers and supporting its own Web hosting. Trump, too, floated the idea of launching his own social media service after Twitter permanently suspended him.

Disinformation researchers said Amazon's shutdown of Parler eliminated a key gathering place for the sharing and discussion of the election-related conspiracies that Trump has often fanned.

"The reason why we're experiencing this corporate denial of service is because there are really no other levers possible to stop this group of people from reassembling and either trying this again or trying something else that's just as dangerous," said Joan Donovan, an expert on online extremism at Harvard. "It's going to be really important that when they make these decisions, they stick and that they don't walk them back once the heat is off."

A new focus on who controls "the guts of the Web"

To experts who study online speech and infrastructure, the predicament Parler finds itself in reveals just how much control over the Internet is vested in Web hosts, an out-of-sight part of the Web that has the power to decide which sites live or die.

"The guts of the Web that no one ever wants to see, or deal with, or think about" is how Greg Falco, a cyber-risk management researcher at Stanford University, describes these service providers. "It is critical infrastructure for our society, but it's been pushed behind a curtain."

In recent months, the biggest social media companies have drawn brighter lines around the limits of online free speech. And in the wake of the attack on the Capitol, they've taken uncharacteristically aggressive actions against groups and accounts that glorified the violence.

But, as the case of Parler shows, the pressure on social media companies to police the speech on their platforms is shared by Web-hosting companies.

"The question becomes tricky: When do you actually take someone down? It's a really gray territory," Falco said. "The reality is, it comes down to understanding when it reaches some public attention, when there's actually some physical implications."

It is hard to find an example more stark than the insurrection on the Capitol, when droves of rioters turned to Parler and other alternative sites to post videos of vandalism, property damage and other violence, as ProPublica recently documented at length.

"When you have something that's outwardly violent or causes some other crisis or tragedy in the world, that's when Web infrastructure tends to come out of the shadows," said Dave Temkin, a former Netflix executive who oversaw the management of the company's servers.

Web-hosting companies, like social media platforms, address content in their terms of service. Violators can be punished.

Back in 2018, GoDaddy, a major player in site-hosting, kicked Gab offline after it was revealed that the man accused of killing 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue had posted anti-Semitic messages to the site. Gab, which removed the suspect's account, came back online with the help of Epik, a company with links to the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer and theDonald.win, a far-right discussion board created after Reddit banned a forum popular with Trump's most ardent fans. The site recently rebranded as Patriot.win, and Epik supports its domain, the company confirmed.

Evelyn Douek, a lecturer at Harvard Law School, predicts more battles over online speech will erupt between sites that choose a hands-off approach and Web hosts that demand a more aggressive stance. And that troubles her.

"Is that the right place for content moderation to be occurring?" Douek asked. "It's harder to bring accountability to those choices when we don't even know who's making them or why they're being made."

In other words, when a Web host has a problem with content on a client's site, usually these discussions are hashed out between the two parties, far from the public light. And Web hosts, unlike social media platforms, are not used to explaining these decisions publicly.

Another issue, Douek said, is the lack of oversight of Web hosts. She pointed to the 98 pieces of objectionable content Amazon cited in court papers about Parler.

"It sort of made me laugh a little bit," she said. "Has Amazon read the rest of the Internet? Ninety-eight pieces of content or whatever is not that many. I mean, has Amazon read Amazon?"

Editor's note: Amazon is among NPR's recent financial supporters.

Why Amazon.com Stock Dropped 6% on Monday

03-06-2019 · Shares of Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) are down 5.8% in the closing minutes of Monday trading, falling as rumors begin to swell about an imminent investigation into the …

03-06-2019

Shares of Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) are down 5.8% in the closing minutes of Monday trading, falling as rumors begin to swell about an imminent investigation into the company for anti-competitive business practices.

As Reuters reported today, representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have been meeting in recent weeks to discuss a division of labor in investigating several tech giants -- Alphabet, Apple, and Facebook among them -- but also Amazon.com.

Red arrow pointing down.
Image source: Getty Images.

So what

According to the report, the FTC will be looking into these questions at Amazon and Facebook. The DOJ will take on investigating Apple and Alphabet. Antitrust concerns appear to lie at the core of the government's moves in all four cases.

No word yet on what either agency intends to do next, but a request for information about the matters that concern them -- followed by a wholehearted response from the companies to "cooperate fully" -- is the way these things normally proceed.

Now what

It's important to keep in mind that just because the government is looking doesn't mean it will open up an official probe into all -- or any -- of the companies. And it's much less likely that it will necessarily find one or more of them guilty of monopolistic behavior.

Just the chance that that will happen, however, appears to be enough to put investors into "shoot first, and ask questions later" mode -- and Amazon is now in their bullseye.

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Apple suspends Parler from its App Store while ...

08-01-2021 · A day after Parler was removed from the Google Play Store, Apple has made a similar step. While the social media app was the top free app Saturday, Apple …

08-01-2021

UPDATE: Parler is now down. See the latest here. And learn more about Gab, an alternative platform here.

A day after Parler was removed from the Google Play Store, Apple has made a similar step.

While the social media app was the top free app Saturday, Apple said in a statement sent to USA TODAY that it has suspended Parler.

The social network, launched in 2018, became popular among conservatives and an unmoderated home to more extreme views in 2020 when Facebook and Twitter tightened up their content moderation and labeling.

"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," Apple's statement said. "Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety."

YouTube removes Rudy Giuliani video:Steve Bannon's channel was also terminated as YouTube cracks down on misinformation

Rush Limbaugh leaves Twitter:Rush Limbaugh deactivates his Twitter account after President Trump permanently banned

Amazon is suspending Parler from its web hosting services effective 11:59 p.m. PT Sunday, BuzzFeed reported late Saturday, citing a letter it had obtained that mentions 98 examples of Parler posts that "encourage and incite violence." Amazon declined to comment on the suspension. 

Apple also shared a message its App Review Board sent to Parler developers that said the app will be removed from its 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.”

Parler did not immediately respond to USA TODAY's request for comment, but its CEO, John Matze, wrote about the ban in a post on Parler Saturday night. 

“Apple will be banning Parler until we give up free speech, institute broad and invasive policies like Twitter and Facebook and we become a surveillance platform by pursuing guilt of those who use Parler before innocence,” Matze wrote. “They claim it is due to violence on the platform. The community disagrees as we hit number 1 on their store today.”

Matze said more details about the company's next plans would be "coming soon as we have many options."

Soon after his post on Apple, Matze posted about Amazon, saying it "will be shutting off all of our servers in an attempt to completely remove free speech off the internet. There is the possibility Parler will be unavailable on the internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch."

Supporters say Parler is preserving free speech and is correcting for the overreach of the mainstream social media platforms, which applied labels to or limited the reach of many of President Donald Trump's misleading posts during the week of the election.

Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts were blocked from posting "indefinitely" on Thursday. Twitter took a stronger step by permanently suspending Trump from its platform on Friday night.

Trump ban:President Trump permanently banned from Twitter over risk he could incite violence

Contributing: Jessica Guynn, Josh Rivera, Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

Parler offline following Amazon, Apple, Google bans over ...

11-01-2021 · Parler offline following Amazon, Apple, Google bans over Capitol violence content. The app was used to help organize the Capitol Hill attack, pushing tech …

11-01-2021
Hands holding a smartphone that is displaying a Parler logo
Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

Amazon, Apple and Google have banned the Parler social networking app from their services and app stores in the wake of Wednesday's attack on the US Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters. Parler has been rife with violent comments since before the attack on the Capitol, and Apple and Google say they'll restore the app only when Parler moderates its service better.

Parler Chief Executive John Matze posted on his service late Saturday that Amazon had informed him it would no longer host his service on its Amazon Web Services platform. The move followed earlier announcements by Apple and Google that they removed the app from their respective app stores as well. 

"This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the marketplace," Matze wrote on Saturday, adding that his service had become "too successful too fast." He didn't initially address his platform's comparatively lax moderation rules or its use by extremists ahead of the Capitol Hill riot. He also didn't mention increasing concerns that social media apps, including Parler, were being used to organize another attack in the coming weeks. 

On Sunday evening, Matze added in a press statement that the company is working to improve moderation to remove prohibited content such as posts that incite or threaten violence. "Parler strives to bring people together and find common ground, peace and healing. We do not condone or accept violence on our platform and we never will," Matze said.

As of Monday, Parler was offline. Matze said in a statement late Sunday that Parler would be offline "longer than expected" because most of the app's vendors had dropped support following decisions by Amazon, Apple and Google. 

Apple, Google banish Parler app

On Saturday, Apple said in a statement that it had banned Parler from its App Store because the app failed to appropriately police content posted by users.

Apple has "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," the company said. "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."

The App Store is the only way to distribute apps to iPhones, so banishment poses a serious challenge to online services, though they can often still be reached through websites.

Apple's move followed Google's decision on Friday to remove Parler's Android app from its Play Store for similar reasons.

"We're aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US," Google said. "We recognize that there can be reasonable debate about content policies and that it can be difficult for apps to immediately remove all violative content, but for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content."

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Google's ban won't impact Parler as much as Apple's because Android users can "sideload" apps without going through the Play Store. The ability is disabled by default, however.

Deplatforming a platform

The modern internet provides an abundance of platforms to directly communicate to millions of people, and it's proved challenging to balance the benefits of online discussion with the drawbacks.

Matze had posted warnings his app might be removed from Amazon's web services after a group of employees called on the company to act. "We cannot be complicit in more bloodshed and violent attacks on our democracy," Amazon employees wrote in a tweet. 

Less than a day later, they declared victory. "We demanded Amazon deplatform white supremacists using tech we work on as a bullhorn to incite violence and attack our democracy," the group said. Amazon confirmed Sunday it would boot Parler off its web hosting service.

Enough is enough. Amazon hosts Parler on @awscloud.

As Amazon workers, we demand Amazon deny Parler services until it removes posts inciting violence, including at the Presidential inauguration.

We cannot be complicit in more bloodshed and violent attacks on our democracy.

— Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (@AMZNforClimate) January 9, 2021

In Apple's case, the iPhone maker sent Parler a warning letter on Friday, according to Buzzfeed, demanding the app improve its moderation. 

"We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property. The app also appears to continue to be used to plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities," Apple reportedly said to Parler. "If we do not receive an update compliant with the App Store Review Guidelines and the requested moderation improvement plan in writing within 24 hours, your app will be removed from the App Store."

In a follow-up letter Saturday to Parler's developers, Apple said it was still seeing unacceptable content on Parler. 

"In your response, you referenced that Parler has been taking this content 'very seriously for weeks,'" Apple wrote. "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."

And an apparent plan put forward by Parler didn't satisfy Apple.

"Your response also references a moderation plan 'for the time being,' which does not meet the ongoing requirements" in the App Store's guidelines, Apple wrote. "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."

Parler didn't respond to a request for comment on Apple's ban either.

In a Parler post on Friday, Matze challenged Apple's position and said Apple doesn't hold Twitter or Facebook to the same standard. "Apparently they believe Parler is responsible for ALL user generated content on Parler," he said. "By the same logic, Apple must be responsible for ALL actions taken by their phones. Every car bomb, every illegal cell phone conversation, every illegal crime committed on an iPhone, Apple must also be responsible for."

Apple didn't respond to a request for comment on Matze's remarks.

Content crackdown on social media

The biggest example of deplatforming happened Friday when Twitter permanently suspended Trump's account "due to the risk of further incitement of violence."

Twitter suspended President Donald Trump's Twitter account on Jan. 8, 2021.Twitter suspended President Donald Trump's Twitter account on Jan. 8, 2021.

Twitter permanently suspended President Donald Trump's Twitter account on Friday. 

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

After the insurrection at the Capitol, which led to deaths, vandalism and the evacuation of Congress -- not to mention the insult to a national and international symbol of democracy -- social media sites have been taking a harder stance against activity they see as dangerous. Facebook and Instagram blocked Trump from new posts "indefinitely." Reddit cut off The_Donald, a major right-wing discussion forum, and Twitter banned several high-profile accounts associated with the right-wing, bogus QAnon conspiracy theory. 

In a Friday tweet, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent New York Democrat, called for Google and Apple to take action after reported calls for violence on Parler.

Parler's growing importance

Parler is growing in importance to right-wing activists as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have put the kibosh on Trump's social media accounts after loyalists stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.

"Our investigation has found that Parler is not effectively moderating and removing content that encourages illegal activity and poses a serious risk to the health and safety of users in direct violation of your own terms of service," Apple reportedly told Parler on Friday, citing a handful of examples purportedly showing violent threats. "Content of this dangerous and harmful nature is not appropriate for the App Store. As you know from prior conversations with App Review, Apple requires apps with user generated content to effectively moderate to ensure objectionable, potentially harmful content is filtered out. Content that threatens the well being of others or is intended to incite violence or other lawless acts has never been acceptable on the App Store."

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Bezos backlash: Why people are canceling their Amazon Prime

27-11-2018 · Bezos is the richest man in the world; his company brings in more money while reducing its ever-shrinking margins. That’s the business model. ( Growing numbers of …

27-11-2018

Yesterday was Cyber Monday and already Amazon has revealed many flowery statistics about all the ways it earned tens of millions of dollars in a matter of hours. Amazon does this every year–it’s how it reaffirms to the world its dominance. But in the background something else is afoot, and it’s been slowly gaining traction: a backlash.

On Vox’s The Goods, writer Rebecca Jennings wrote yesterday about the slow and steady movement of people and organizations realizing that Amazon may actually be bad.

“Having covered Black Friday for the past few years, I’m used to the infinite roundups of Amazon’s best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals–which, to be sure, won’t be going anywhere as long as publishers are able to monetize them,” she wrote. “But what I hadn’t seen as much before this year were media companies openly discouraging readers from shopping at Amazon.” Two examples she brings up are The Ringer and Gizmodo–both of which wrote pieces this year dissuading its readers from using the e-commerce platform.

Similarly, individuals have joined the call too. Jennings points to numerous tweets–most of whom come from the loud but incestuous media twitter circle–of popular accounts imploring their followers to break ties with the company. (A search of Google Trends for the search query “cancel Amazon Prime” shows a spike last December, followed by a steady decline.) Other smaller creators have also tried to foster positive reinforcement in name of canceling Amazon Prime; online ceramicist and writer Marian Bull (who’s also, full disclosure, a friend of mine), held a brief sale on her Instagram imploring followers to part ways with the Amazon beast.

“[H]ey I fucking hate Jeff Bezos so if you cancel your prime subscription and DM me a screenshot I’ll send you a free cup,” she wrote. And it seemed to work: in less than a day Bull updated the post to say she reached her free mug cap.

This new, loosely organized movement does all seem to coalesce around the realization that Bezos has created a streamlined system of commerce that consumers believe they need, which, all the while, reifies a strain of capitalism that routinely disenfranchises everyone but those as the very top. (To be fair, this strain may actually be all of capitalism, but alas that inquiry is for another blog).

Bezos is the richest man in the world; his company brings in more money while reducing its ever-shrinking margins. That’s the business model. (Growing numbers of Prime members, who now pay 9 for a 12-month membership, have surely been helping.) People first thought he was nuts–for the first decade-plus, the company invested all its profits toward expansion, to the chagrin of many investors–but now he’s considered a god among entrepreneurs. He created an empire when no one was looking.

Meanwhile, those who keep his digital realm afloat–the people physically laboring in warehouses to ensure that Prime purchases get sent at the right schedule–are expected to work increased hours with poor compensation under Dickensian conditions. (In October, under political pressure, the company set a minimum wage for employees at an hour.)

support the strike. don’t buy from amazon & cancel your prime membership. https://t.co/gSCjWPSPMD

— talia jane (@itsa_talia) November 23, 2018

Every so often we hear of protests or a shout from the whisper network, but this knowledge has become so commonplace that people just as soon forget about the labor system underpinning their expected two-day delivery. Amazon’s has become a modern day serfdom–bringing on more people worldwide to continue the platform’s constant expansion while also keeping the margins low.

Last week, thousands of European warehouse workers went on strike on Black Friday. There was some coverage about it, but it didn’t change the narrative much. Amazon also reportedly tried to call in police to break up one of the strikes in Spain. But, again, this didn’t raise many red flags in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s strategy has been to stay quiet or outright deny–hoping it all will blow over. Take the Spanish police incident: the company maintained that multiple allegations by workers were all “ludicrous suggestions.” In years past, when others brought up bad business dealings, the company either denied or kept quiet. And, it should be said, this strategy worked! Nearly every PR headache Amazon incurred blew over because, well, people like their free shipping.

Now things are perhaps changing a little. More and more, others are calling for increased mindfulness when submitting to the e-commerce beast. Maybe this is because they are questioning Amazon’s commerce ubiquity, or maybe it’s because the company’s current expansion plans go beyond merely shopping for things. Amazon is trying to take over entertainment. Amazon is also slowly growing its ad network. It’s also been making its own devices for years. It already runs much of the internet’s cloud infrastructure. If all goes to plan, it will become The Business Centipede, which will look like Walmart sewn to the butt of Comcast but also to Google and Apple.

Related: Delete your account

In today’s economy, where the rich are getting richer and everyone below is either stagnating or struggling even more, it’s difficult to know what to do. Amazon thrives because it can capitalize on this economic-cum-psychic resignation, which helps perpetuate the problem.

But, for some, one small act of resistance–one precious measure of control–is simply refusing to participate.