The network Parler, popular especially among right-wingers, is offline. After Parler was kicked out of Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store last week, the third tech giant Amazon has now also announced that it will no longer offer the homophobic/transphobic and racist forum a platform.

When it became known after the storming of the Capitol in Washington on 6 January 2021 that the “Make America Great Again March” had been organised on Parler for everyone to see, Google removed the app from the Play Store on the grounds that communication on the platform was not properly moderated with regard to inflammatory posts.

Apple asked the operators of Parler to remove within 24 hours “all offensive content from your app, as well as any content that relates to attacks on individuals or government entities now or at any time in the future”. As this did not happen, Apple also removed the app from the App Store and Parler had to rely on cloud computing service Amazon Web Services (AWS).

But now the third tech giant has also pulled the plug: Amazon Web Services announced it would no longer be available as a web host for Parler from 11 January 2021.

Amazon justified the measure with repeated violations of the terms of use. “Recently, we have noticed a steady increase in this violent content on your site, all of which violates our terms,” AWS’s Trust and Safety team wrote in a letter to Parler.

It added: “It is clear that Parler does not have an effective process for complying with the AWS Terms of Use. It also appears that Parler is still trying to determine its position on content moderation. They do remove some violent content when contacted by us or others, but not always with urgency. Their CEO has recently stated publicly that he ‘doesn’t feel responsible for any of this and neither does the platform’.”

It concluded:

“We cannot provide services to a customer who is unable to effectively identify and remove content that incites or incites violence against others.”

 

Parler – hotbed of homo/transphobia and racism

 

Founded in 2018, the “free speech” platform Parler has established itself as a safe haven for all those banned on Facebook and Twitter in its few years of existence. Around 10 million users were on the platform before it was shut down. Among them were Proud Boys, White Supremacists and other far-right organisations, but also politicians like Texas Senator Ted Cruz and journalists from the right-wing spectrum, such as Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.

The platform, which advertised its commitment to “protecting privacy, freedom of expression and free markets”, followed the principle of using volunteers to moderate calls for violence. With rather moderate success: within a very short time, Parler developed into a breeding ground for racist, homophobic and transphobic ideologies and a melting pot for untruths, misinformation and conspiracy theories.

 

 

Parler boss speeks of conspiracy

 

Parler CEO John Matze railed against Amazon, Google and Apple on Fox News on Sunday. Matze called the platform’s closure a “coordinated effort” by the tech giants “to kill competition in the marketplace.” In his opinion, Parler had become too successful too quickly.

The fact that not only the three tech giants, but “every provider, from SMS services to email providers to our lawyers” ditched the app should actually give pause for thought.

 

In an interview with Fox News, John Matze said he and a team “are trying our best to get back online as quickly as possible, but we’re having a lot of problems because every vendor we talk to says they won’t work with us unless Apple and Google agree.”

Meanwhile, it appears that the Fox News channel is once again ready to pander to the right-wing camp. Jeanine Pirro, former judge and host of Justice with Judge Jeanine on Fox News compared Parler’s exit to “a Kristallnacht”.

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  • WhatsApp Image 2021-01-11 at 18.02.20: By Unsplash / CC0

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