Judge Denies Parler’s Request to Require Amazon to Restore Service

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos during the JFK Space Summit at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

A judge in Seattle, Washington has denied Parler’s request for a preliminary injunction, which would require Amazon to restore web hosting services for the social media platform.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein rejected Parler’s request to have a preliminary injunction requiring Amazon Web Services (AWS) to restore its services, basing the decision on the claim that the social media site hosts “abusive” and “violent” content.

“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,” said Judge Rothstein.

“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 judge added.

Judge Rothstein’s response appears to echo Amazon’s justification for kicking Parler offline. The tech giant had booted the social media platform from its services earlier this month — following the Capitol Hill — claiming that content posted by users on the site may “incite violence.”

Amazon is not alone in its decision to target Parler, as other big tech companies, such as Google and Apple, have pushed the same narrative to justify taking action against the social media platform.

Around the same time Amazon booted Parler from its web hosting service, Google and Apple both banned Parler from its app stores, effectively excluding the Parler app from all Android and iPhone smartphones.

Amazon, Google, and Apple, however, have not made any move against platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, platforms which some may say the tech giants could have a stronger case for taking against.

The DOJ has filed several charges against protesters who were using Facebook to plan their visit to Washington, DC, as mounting evidence suggests that individuals used Facebook to help organize the protest.

A criminal complaint filed on Wednesday revealed that a search warrant was issued on a protester’s Facebook account.

“Nothing will stop us….they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours….dark to light!” wrote Ashli Babbitt on Twitter, one day before she was fatally shot by a police officer inside the Capitol Building.

And then there’s John Sullivan — the left-wing activist who was arrested and charged in connection to the Capitol Hill riot — who had a Twitter account, and still has a YouTube account, which he used to post videos of the siege in which he can be heard encouraging protesters on Capitol Hill.

Yet big tech companies nonetheless appear to have shifted their focus to Parler, the new social media platform that many prominent conservatives and their followers began flocking to after Twitter permanently banned then-President Donald Trump from its platform.

“Parler has failed to meet the standard set by Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court precedent for issuance of a preliminary injunction,” said Judge Rothstein.

“To be clear, the Court is not dismissing Parler’s substantive underlying claims at this time,” she added. “Parler has fallen far short, however, of demonstrating, as it must, that it has raised serious questions going to the merits of its claims, or that the balance of hardships tips sharply in its favor.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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