Conservative social media platform Parler could be shutdown from midnight Sunday after Amazon said it was shutting down its servers.
Jeff Bezos’ Amazon said it had suspended Parler from its Amazon Web Services (AWS) unit, for violating its terms of services by failing to effectively deal with a steady increase in violent content on the social networking service.
Parler’s CEO John Matze announced the news, revealing it could leave the app unavailable for a week as the company attempts to rebuild from scratch.
Earlier Saturday night, Apple said it is also suspending the app over accusations it is being used to incite violence.
The Apple suspension comes after the tech giant gave Parler 24 hours to address the ‘threats to people’s safety’ or be removed from its app store.
The move comes one day after Google also removed Parler from its app store, also citing posts inciting violence, and demanded ‘robust’ content moderation from the app favored by many Trump supporters.
Parler had been flooded by conservatives and right wingers fleeing Facebook and Twitter in recent days in the wake of suspension of prominent conservative figures, including Trump himself, and the warnings from Apple.
Maetze branded the shutoffs and suspensions ‘a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place’.
The CEO also revealed late Saturday that Parler had removed a post from right-wing attorney Lin Wood, a staunch Trump supporter, that called for Vice President Mike Pence to be executed by ‘firing squads’.
Scroll down for video
Parler’s CEO John Matze also revealed that Amazon was cutting off the app’s servers, leaving it unavailable for a week as the company attempts to rebuild from scratch, pictured
Amazon, owned by Jeff Bezos, pictured, moved against Parler on Saturday night
Apple said in a letter to the social media site, which has been flooded by conservatives and right wingers fleeing Facebook and Twitter, that: ‘Parler has not upheld its commitment to moderate and remove harmful or dangerous content encouraging violence and illegal activity, and is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines
‘Yes, some of his parleys that violated our rules were taken down,’ Matze told Mediaite, specifying that the post, or parley, about the ‘firing squads’ was among those removed.
The parley, uploaded Thursday, read: ‘They let them in. Get the firing squads ready. Pence goes FIRST.’
In a statement to CNN, Wood denied making any threats against Pence, claiming, ‘I don’t believe in violence, I do believe in the rule of law.’
‘I have reliable evidence that Pence has a engaged in acts of treason. My comments were rhetorical hyperbole. Any journalist should understand that concept. If my information is accurate, law enforcement will address what punishment, if any, should be administered to Pence as they do with all criminals,’ Wood said.
News of Wood’s controversial post came just hours after Apple announced it would be suspending Parler from its app store indefinitely, having earlier issued the company 24 hours to address the ‘threats to people’s safety’.
In a letter to the social media site explaining its suspension on Saturday, Apple said: ‘Parler has not upheld its commitment to moderate and remove harmful or dangerous content encouraging violence and illegal activity, and is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.’
Apple explained: ‘We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity.
Parler’s CEO John Matze claimed Amazon, Google and Apple made the decision based on Trump’s ban from Twitter on Friday
‘Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety,’ it added.
‘We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues’.
Matze, in a post on Parler responding to the Apple suspension, said, ‘They claim it is due to violence on the platform. The community disagrees as we hit number 1 on their store today’.
‘More details about our next plans coming soon as we have many options,’ Matze said.
He was forced to post again shortly afterward as Amazon announced the shut off of its servers.
‘Amazon will be shutting off all of out servers in an attempt to completely remove free speech off the internet,’ he wrote.
‘There is the possibility Parler will be unavailable on the Internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch. We prepared for events like this by never relying on Amazon’s proprietary infrastructure and building bare metal products.
‘We will try our best to move to a new provider right now as we have many competing for our business, however Amazon, Google and Apple purposefully did this as a coordinated effort knowing our options would be limited and knowing this would inflict the most damage right as President Trump was banned from the tech companies.
‘We were too successful too fast,’ he added.
‘You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue but don’t count us out.
Parler, a two-year-old, more freewheeling alternative to Twitter that has become increasingly popular among the president’s most ardent supporters, would still be available in mobile browsers.
Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff claimed on Friday night it is being targeted as a conservative platform that refuses to fact check its users.
Parler’s Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff, pictured, claimed on Tucker Carlson it is being targeted as a conservative platform that refuses to fact check its users
Right-leaning social media users in the United States have flocked to Parler, messaging app Telegram and hands-off social site Gab, citing the more aggressive policing of political comments on mainstream platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
In suspending the service, Google, whose software powers Android phones, cited its policy against apps that promote violence and gave recent examples from Parler, including a Friday post that began ‘How do we take back our country? About 20 or so coordinated hits’, and another promoting a ‘Million Militia March’ on Washington.
Yet Peikoff claimed on Tucker Carlson’s show on Friday night that the app should not have ‘responsibility for every piece of incitement that is posted there’.
She said that the app is ‘competing with other platforms who have decided that they want to surveil’ as she blasted the fact-checking policies taken by larger platforms since Russian interference was revealed in the 2016 election.
Parler, a 2-year-old, more freewheeling alternative to Twitter that has become increasingly popular among the president’s most ardent supporters
‘The nature of an open platform, a free and open town square, is that we do not take action on people until we are aware of a situation that’s particularly suspicious,’ she told the Fox News host.
Peikoff alleged that they were only being targeted by Google and Apple due to the politics of the majority of people on the site.
‘I think because we do have the reputation as being the conservative platform – although we are nonpartisan – that is what everybody sees us as,’ she said.
‘This has been a very unusual week. And to be singled out, we think, is quite unfair.
‘On the one hand, people don’t like to live in the world of Orwell’s ‘1984,’ and on the other hand, a lot of people seem to want to pressure social media to do more to moderate, as they call it, content on their platforms, but that would require 24-hour surveillance,’ Peikoff continued.
‘And we don’t think that that is consistent with the principles of America.’
She claimed that Parler wants to ‘provide a place where people can come and speak freely, that they are not going to be fact-checked, not going to be told what to think, what to read, et cetera’.
‘Also, we do not data pillage. We do not data mine them. We do not turn them into commodities and try to monetize them,’ Peikoff added.
‘We would just like to provide that service, and of course, like everyone else, we were horrified by a lot of the incitement that was going on this week, and we are doing everything that we can within our principles to deal appropriately with that content. We work with law enforcement, as well, but that content has been everywhere this week.’
Peikoff admitted that if the Google and Apple bans do take effect, it will have a very serious effect on the app’s growth.
She also revealed for the first time that Amazon had also made threats ahead of the announcement the servers were being shut off on Saturday.
‘Amazon is also raising some problems, and I’m not sure how serious that is, because I’ve yet to speak to them. I will later today. You know, they provide the server for us,’ she said.
‘And if they were to remove their services, then we would be down. As it is, we are having some difficulties now with the uptick in traffic, that if they took their service away, we’d be gone.’
Despite the suspensions, the platform would still be available on desktops
Parler Chief Executive John Matze also claimed in a post on Friday that Apple was applying standards to Parler that it did not apply to itself.
In a statement, Google said that ‘for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content. In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app´s listings from the Play Store until it addresses these issues.’
In a letter from Apple’s App Store review team to Parler, Apple cited participants of the mob storming the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.
‘Content that threatens the well-being of others or is intended to incite violence or other lawless acts has never been acceptable on the App Store,’ Apple said in the letter.
Apple gave Parler 24 hours to ‘remove all objectionable content from your app … as well as any content referring to harm to people or attacks on government facilities now or at any future date.’
The company also demanded that Parler submit a written plan ‘to moderate and filter this content’ from the app.
It has since followed through with its threat and suspended Parler.
Matze, who describes himself as libertarian, founded Parler in 2018 as a ‘free-speech driven’ alternative to mainstream platforms but began courting right-leaning users as prominent supporters of Trump moved there.
Those who have joined include commentator Candace Owens, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and right-wing activist Laura Loomer, who handcuffed herself to the door of Twitter’s New York office in November 2018 to protest a ban on her by the site.
In November, conservative activist Rebekah Mercer confirmed that she and her family, which includes her father and hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer, have provided funding to Parler.
‘Apparently they believe Parler is responsible for ALL user generated content on Parler,’ Matze said.
‘Therefor (sic) by the same logic, Apple must be responsible for ALL actions taken by their phones. Every car bomb, every illegal cell phone conversation, every illegal crime committed on an iPhone, Apple must also be responsible for,’ he wrote.
‘Standards not applied to Twitter, Facebook or even Apple themselves, apply to Parler.’
The Twitter account of Donald Trump on Friday night afer it was permanently suspended
Trump, pictured, could migrate to Parler, Gab or some other alternative site
Now that Trump has been knocked off one of his favorite pulpits, he may resort to other online channels such as Parler. Many of Trump’s supporters have already used the forum to spread falsehoods and hateful comments.
While Trump could migrate to Parler, Gab or some other alternative site, doing so will greatly limit his influence, said Shannon McGregor, an assistant professor of journalism and media at the University of North Carolina.
Trump has always craved legitimacy and standing in the mainstream media despite his complaints about normal reporting he has long referred to as ‘fake news.’
He won’t get that on other platforms, she added.
Trump and his campaign received a permanent suspension from Twitter on Friday night just after loyalists, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and attorney Sidney Powell.
He briefly managed to tweet from the President of the United States official account before these tweets were also deleted.
In the tweets, which he later released in a statement to the White House press pool, he claimed that he was in talks to set up his own platform and promised his followers ‘We will not be SILENCED’.