On Monday, the social media company Parler.com sued Amazon, the company that hosts their social media platform that has suspended their app, alleging that the suspension from the hosting service violated antitrust laws and breached the companies’ contractual arrangement.
There is no question that Parler’s argument is true. There is also no question that the leftist corporate types have rigged the game in their favor. Amazon is arguing that though they respect the right of Parler to allow people free speech rights on their platform, they have a policy in their terms of service that does not allow speech that incites violence. There are problems I see that Amazon will face, one being that they do not treat other social media platforms under their service the same way. The other is that a platform is not held liable for the content on their site as they are protected by Section 230 of the Telecommunications Decency Act. A publisher is held liable because they control all of the content that appears on their space, while a platform is merely a media source for people to post their own content. Under 230 platforms are allowed to control the content they deem in violation of their terms of service, such as racism, threats of violence, etc. But over the last few years Facebook, Twitter, and others have changed their terms of service to be able to target users they do not like while allowing users they favor to get away with the same infractions. That’s not what the spirit of Section 230 is all about.
First Apple and Google have removed Parler’s app from their app stores citing pretty much the same thing Amazon is arguing, that affording people Free Speech rights is a threat to our republic. Our Founding Fathers are turning in their graves.
In its lawsuit, Parler, a platform favored by many conservatives who felt harassed by Facebook, Twitter, and other left-wing-run social media platforms because of its largely Free Speech approach to moderating content on their platform, asked a federal judge to order that the platform be reinstated online.
The First Amendment applies here even though Amazon is a corporation and not the government.
In PARLER LLC v. AMAZON WEB SERVICES, INC. the company argues:
- This is a civil action for injunctive relief, including a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunctive relief, and damages. Last Month, Defendant Amazon Web Services, Inc. (“AWS”) and the popular social media
platform Twitter signed a multi-year deal so that AWS could support the daily delivery of millions of tweets. AWS currently provides that same service to Parler, a conservative microblogging alternative and competitor to Twitter.
- When Twitter announced two evenings ago that it was permanently banning President Trump from its platform, conservative users began to flee Twitter en masse for Parler. The exodus was so large that the next day, yesterday, Parler became the number one free app downloaded from Apple’s App Store.
- Yet last evening, AWS announced that it would suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59 PM PST. And it stated the reason for the suspension was that AWS was not confident Parler could properly police its platform regarding content that encourages or incites violence against others. However, Friday night one of the top trending tweets on Twitter was “Hang Mike Pence.” But AWS has no plans nor has it made any threats to suspend Twitter’s account.
- AWS’s decision to effectively terminate Parler’s account is apparently motivated by political animus. It is also apparently designed to reduce competition in the microblogging services market to the benefit of Twitter.
- Thus, AWS is violating Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act in combination with Defendant Twitter. AWS is also breaching it contract with Parler, which requires AWS to provide Parler with a thirty-day notice before
terminating service, rather than the less than thirty-hour notice AWS actually provided. Finally, AWS is committing intentional interference with prospective economic advantage given the millions of users expected to sign up in the near future.
- This emergency suit seeks a Temporary Restraining Order against Defendant Amazon Web Services to prevent it from shutting down Parler’s account at the end of today. Doing so is the equivalent of pulling the plug on a hospital patient on life support. It will kill Parler’s business—at the very time it is set to skyrocket.
Read the entire lawsuit here: