Earlier in the week, it was announced that Amazon was going to kick Parler off their hosting service because the alternative social media site supposedly had users posting “threats.” Lin Wood, for example, wrote an unhinged rant about shooting Mike Pence that wasn’t deleted because Parler’s entire shtick is allowing freedom of speech, even objectively crappy speech.
Of course, threats are made every single day on Twitter and they are never threatened with losing their hosting services, but Parler caters to conservatives fleeing social media censorship, which makes them public enemy #1 in Silicon Valley now.
Parler isn’t taking things lying down though. They’ve dropped a big lawsuit on Amazon, alleging antitrust violations, breach of contract, and unlawful business interference. This comes per The Hill.
BREAKING: Parler sues Amazon for antitrust violation, breach of contract and unlawful business interference. Asks federal judge to order Amazon to reinstate the platform
— John Kruzel (@johnkruzel) January 11, 2021
Social media company Parler sued Amazon on Monday, alleging that its suspension from Amazon’s hosting service violated antitrust law and breached the companies’ contractual arrangement.
In its lawsuit, Parler, which is especially popular among conservatives, asked a federal judge to order that the platform be reinstated online.
The 18-page complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, where Amazon is headquartered, accuses Amazon Web Services (AWS) of applying a politically motivated double standard to Parler in contrast to its treatment of the more mainstream social media giant Twitter.
“AWS’s decision to effectively terminate Parler’s account is apparently motivated by political animus,” the lawsuit reads. “It is also apparently designed to reduce competition in the microblogging services market to the benefit of Twitter.”
I’m no lawyer and won’t play one, but I sure hope they have a case here. It’s one thing for Twitter to censor things directly on their platform out of care for specific standards. I mean, don’t get me wrong. That’s bad and should be opposed, but at least it’s out in the open. It’s another level of censorship, though, for background hosting services to start shelving public forum websites because a few crazies say stupid things in the comments.
In fact, since Amazon and others love Section 230 so much, the entire spirit of Section 230 revolves around the idea that a platform is not liable for every individual posting on their site. What these big tech companies want is Section 230 protections for themselves to keep them out of court while they deny those same protections to others via crack downs on the hosting side. It’s insidious and gross. Either these companies believe in free speech and want everyone to enjoy the same level playing field, or they want to be social justice warriors who take advantage of government protections while punishing their competition. They can’t claim the former mantle while doing the latter.
These big tech companies are monopolies. The existence of more than one monopoly does not disqualify that fact. A select few giants are actively killing the market, taking advantage of government regulation and abusing the principles they claim to hold dear. Amazon should not have the power to literally wipe an entire site like Parler off the internet. If they want to make money hosting, they shouldn’t be able to discriminate based on political persuasion. It’s not 1995 anymore. The importance of the internet can not be overstated, and no single company should hold so much power over it if they are going to chose to abuse that power.
I know some conservatives will disagree out of the “muh private company” principle. I don’t really care. I owe no allegiance to Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, etc. They have chosen to create an environment where censorship is now the norm and the entire idea of a public forum is spat upon. That’s on them, and now they should pay the price.
(Please follow me on Twitter to fight the purge and keep our reach…@bonchieredstate)