Tech & The Web

Amazon Suspends Parler Social Network from its Hosting Services

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Trump supporters reeling from Twitter’s decision to ban him learned more bad news: Amazon is kicking the Parler social network to the curb.

Amazon Web Services announced this weekend it will give the Parler social network the boot from its web-hosting services. It set midnight Monday as the deadline.

Parler describes itself as “unbiased social media” in its app listing. At least, that what the app listing stated when I last saw it. Apple dropped the Parler app from the app store and Google dropped it from Google Play.

If you already have the app on your devices, I’m not sure if that means it will stay there or not. But if you did not already have it installed, I don’t see an easy way to install it at this point.

Others, however, suggest Parler isn’t so unbiased; if anything, it’s clearly pro-President Donald Trump.

Lack of moderation led to bans

Amazon said the service violated its rules through what The Washington Post described as “inadequate content-moderation practices.” Apple made similar accusations in its explanation for dropping the app. It said it always supported “diverse points of view.” But, it said, “there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity.” It accused Parler of not taking “adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety.”

Some users value Parler for not moderating content, particularly right-wing content that may or may not be fact-checked. Other services like Facebook and Twitter fact-checking services often flag some of that content.

Buzzfeed said people used Parler “to stoke fear, spread hate, and coordinate” Wednesday’s U.S. Capitol riot.

“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,” it reported.

The decision by Amazon Web Services could shut down the service unless it can find an alternate host. AWS powers all sorts of websites. A report from last year listed Netflix, LinkedIn and Facebook among its top users.

A few journalist friends shared posts they saw on the network. One in particular condoned violence against journalists. No reputable social network should allow such content, no matter which party they try to attract.

Social media quickly became a most disturbing place. More so than it already had been.

The world needs free speech. But what the world needs just as much, if not more so, is a sense of responsibility in those who do speak freely.

People love to try to turn this into a First Amendment argument. But the First Amendment does not apply to privately owned websites. Their users must agree to their terms of service. Even Parler, it turns out, must be accountable to AWS’s terms of services.

I think it’s a shame we can’t all behave better.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.