Amazon has informed Parler that it will no longer host the network on its cloud-based Web Services platform, giving only one day’s notice for it to find a new home or go dark, Buzzfeed News reported on Saturday.
In an email obtained by the publication, Amazon said "it's clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service," and thus will be suspended as of this Sunday, at 11:59 p.m. PT. Explaining the decision, Amazon wrote to Parler Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff:
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.
Suspending Parler's account is a critical blow, and CEO John Matze initially said (on Parler) that it may be offline all week as it works to "rebuild from scratch." In a follow-up, however, he vowed: "By Monday at noon we will be fully operational again." Matze also called on Parler users to return to the site on Tuesday "to win this fight."
Parler is finally getting a taste of what accountability feels like after downplaying its role in breeding the violence that took place at the Capitol on Jan. 6. On Friday, Google suspended the app from its Play Store and Apple hit it with the order to shape up within 24 hours or be banned, ultimately deciding to pull it from the App Store on Saturday for failing to make meaningful improvements. Like Apple, Amazon on Saturday cited Matze's recent comments that he doesn't "feel responsible for any of this, and neither should the platform," as a motivating factor in its move to cut ties.
Even under so much scrutiny, Parler has continued to allow users to make death threats against politicians, including President-elect Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Vice President Mike Pence — deemed a "traitor" for saying he would not block the Electoral College votes — and incite broader violence to defend the Trump presidency. Plans for a second attack, this time targeting the Presidential inauguration, have been circulating on Parler since last week and, in one instance, a user encouraged others to consider journalists as "soft targets" and "take reporters down by any means necessary."
Prior to Amazon's decision going public, employees called on the company to take action against the anti-moderation social media network, which has relied on Amazon Web Services' servers since 2018. In a tweet posted by advocacy group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, workers said, "We cannot be complicit in more bloodshed and violent attacks on our democracy."
In response to the string of bans, Matze milked users' widespread misunderstanding of the First Amendment and hailed itself as a savior of democracy, going as far as to say, "We are the worlds [sic] last hope for free speech and free information." He wrote:
We are the closest thing to competition Facebook or Twitter has seen in many years. I believe Amazon, Google, Apple worked together to try and ensure they don’t have competition. They will NOT win! We are the worlds [sic] last hope for free speech and free information. What they are doing is unprecedented, unfounded and absolutely disgusting. Shameful. This is a battle against all of us. Liberals, conservatives, atheists, Christians, black, white, etc. They want to keep us fighting. They don’t want us working together. They don’t want us working with each other, they want us hating one another. Parley - brings two people with conflicting ideas together. Our mission is free speech, democracy and us the people having the power. The elite don’t want us to be free, they want hate division and power! For us to win this fight we need everyone back on Parler Tuesday. By Monday at noon we will be fully operational again.
Welp, time's a-ticking!