Amazon on Tuesday released receipts in response to Parler̵
Following the violent uprising in the US Capitol last Wednesday, AWS launched Parler from its web hosting platform at midnight on Sunday night. In response, Parler filed a lawsuit accusing Amazon of violating a contract for political reasons and colluding with Twitter to bring a competitor offline.
But the ban has nothing to do with “suffocating views” or “conspiracy” to restrict a competitor, Amazon said in its response statement (PDF). Instead, Amazon said, “This case is about Parler’s demonstrated reluctance and inability to remove actively dangerous content, including publications that incite and plan” the rape, torture and murder of certain government officials and private citizens … AWS has stopped the account of Parler should, as a last resort, prevent further access to such content, including violence plans, in order to disrupt the forthcoming presidential transition. “
“If there’s a breach, it’s Parler’s demonstrated refusal and inability to identify and remove such content,” Amazon added. “Forcing AWS to host content that it plans, encourages and incites violence would be unprecedented.”
To an outside observer, both Parler’s rapid rise and his in-depth deplatform at the end of last week and over the weekend may have felt extremely sudden. Parler launched in 2018, but became really widespread only a few months ago, around the November elections.
Reports began coming out for the first time in December that right-wing extremists were using Parler and other platforms to plan a protest or rally in Washington, DC, on January 6. The whole world saw how these “gatherings” turned out last week.
Last Friday, following the events in the Capitol, Google banned Parler from the Android app store, citing the platform’s failure to remove “delightful content such as violent posts.” Apple followed a day later, similarly shutting down iOS Parler for failing to deal with “the spread of these threats to human safety.” By the end of the weekend, Parler had also received the charge from AWS and was completely offline.
But far from being cut off suddenly, Parler did months on warning, says Amazon. Amazon’s statement included copies of emails sent to Parler in mid-November (PDF, racial abuse content warning) containing screenshots full of racist invests for Democrats, including former First Lady Michelle Obama, with a series of responses from other users. for “murder are all. “
Over the next seven weeks, Amazon provided “more than 100 additional representative pieces of content” to protect against violence against Parler, the company said. Another document in the statement (PDF, also with a warning about content for racial insults and threats of violence) sets out dozens of examples of publications reported by Amazon to Parler starting in mid-December. These publications require, among other things: the killing of a specific transgender person; actively seeking racial war and the killing of blacks and Jews; and the assassination of several activists and politicians such as Stacey Abrams, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes (DN.Y.) and former President Barack Obama.
AWS spoke with Parler executives on Jan. 8 and 9 about “content moderation policies, processes, and tools,” Amazon said. In response, Parler claimed to have proposed steps to rely on “voluntary” moderation, and Parler CEO John Matze said that AWS said that “Parler has abandoned 26,000 messages for content that violates community standards and remains in favour”.
Unfortunately, the violent threats made by at least some Parler users are far from hypothetical.
Almost all of Parler’s content is archived before the service goes completely offline. Gizmodo reporters, digging through this archived data, were able to find several hundred Parler users who posted video on the platform from or near the Capitol during the January 6 events.
Reddit and Twitter’s special efforts to collect screenshots and videos from Parler also show a disturbing pattern of threats and claims made on the platform in the days before and after the January 6 uprising.
As The Washington Post reported on Tuesday, the FBI was also aware of the looming threats of violence made online. On Jan. 5, a day before the rebels stormed the Capitol, the FBI office in Norfolk, Virginia, issued a note that read, “Online Stream Discusses Specific Calls for Violence, Including ‘Be Ready to Fight.’ Congress must hear glass breaking, kicking doors and shedding blood from their slave soldiers from BLM and Pantifa. Become violent. Stop calling it a march, a rally or a protest. Go there, ready for war. Take our president or we die otherwise he will achieve this goal. “
Unfortunately, the threats of violence are not diminishing either. The District of Columbia is slowly becoming a stronghold before President-elect Joe Biden takes office next week, as credible threats of violence continue to be directed not only at the country’s capital but also at the country’s capitals.