Amazon suspends Parler, threatening to take pro-Trump site offline indefinitely

By TONY ROMM, RACHEL LERMAN | The Washington Post | Published: January 9, 2021

Amazon suspended the pro-Trump social-networking site Parler from its web-hosting service this weekend, a move that threatens to darken the site indefinitely after its users glorified the recent riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The e-commerce and web hosting giant said Parler had violated its terms of service given its inadequate content-moderation practices, adding in a letter to the social network that it would terminate its web hosting just before midnight Pacific time Monday.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A person familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed Amazon AWS had communicated its suspension to Parler on Saturday.

Parler also did not respond to a request for comment. But its chief executive, John Matze, said in a post on the site that Parler could be "unavailable on the Internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch."

The move by Amazon AWS is the latest blow for the pro-Trump social network, after Apple and Google this week each took action to remove its app from their stores for smartphone downloads citing the potential risk for violence.

In recent days, Parler users had praised the mob that left the U.S. Capitol on lockdown, threatening a potential "war." The pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood at one point urged Trump-supporting "patriots" on Parler to keep fighting, saying, "Almighty God is with you. TODAY IS OUR DAY."

Matze, however, blasted tech giants for engaging in a "coordinated effort" designed to "inflict the most damage right as President Trump was banned from the tech companies," referring to Twitter's recent decision to permanently suspend Donald Trump out of concern that his tweets threatened to stir violence during soon-to-be President Joseph Biden's inauguration.

In cutting off its web hosting, Amazon threatened to deal a massive blow to a service that had risen in popularity among conservative users who have fled Facebook, Twitter and other mainstream sites that have sought to crack down on harmful, viral falsehoods. Such suspensions can incapacity a website: The extremist forum 8chan, which became a haven for white supremacists, disappeared from the Internet for weeks in 2019 after hosting companies rejected it.

BuzzFeed News first reported the suspension.

The Washington Post's Drew Harwell and Craig Timberg contributed to this story.