Judge Issues Defeat To ‘Parler’ In Amazon Web Services Case


The social media networking site Parler profited big from spreading lies to people vulnerable to their brand of manipulation, but U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein doesn’t appear to have any intention of allowing them to continue to do so. In a federal court on Thursday, Rothstein ruled that Parler had breached their contract with Amazon Web Services, who was therefore justified in taking the site offline.

The site was shut down after domestic terrorists used the site to plan acts of violence that led to the insurrection at the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, where at least five people including a Capitol Hill police officer died. Lawyers for Parler insisted in court that Amazon’s breach of contract argument was politically-based and untrue, but evidence of posts threatening rape, murder, kidnapping, and attacks on state and the federal government that were never removed by the website convinced a judge otherwise.

According to NPR:

‘The Court explicitly rejects any suggestion that the balance of equities or the public interest favors obligating AWS to host the kind of abusive, violent content at issue in this case, particularly in light of the recent riots at the U.S. Capitol. That event was a tragic reminder that inflammatory rhetoric can—more swiftly and easily than many of us would have hoped—turn a lawful protest into a violent insurrection.’

The ruling comes as the House Oversight Committee faces demands that the website be investigated as a result of its ties to Russia, where the site went for web-hosting services after being kicked off Amazon.

According to The Washington Post, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) is leading the charge in demanding that investigation.

‘She said the committee will begin its own formal investigation of Parlerand similar sites, and that it was a “top priority” for her to learn answers to a range of questions about Parler, including its alleged ties to Russia, as documented in news reports. Her letter to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray Thursday singled out Parler’s use of a Russian-owned Web services company, DDoS-Guard, that also has Russian government clients and may leave Parler vulnerable to data requests by Russian agencies.’

The right to free speech does not include threats of violence, and Section 230 allows websites to remove content that violate their policies. Parler is a prime example of how allowing the use of social media platforms for violent purposes can become deadly and dangerous.

‘In defending against the suit, Amazon considered the matter a simple case of breach of contract. The company flagged more than 100 pieces of content advocating violence, which is against its policies, and Parler failed to remove the posts, according to Amazon’s attorneys. The posts cited by Amazon include violent threats directed at Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and leaders in the Democratic Party.’

Featured image screenshot via The Guardian