Parler sues Amazon over removal from Web hosting service, alleges political animus

Parler said Amazon's decision to effectively shutter its account was "apparently motivated by political animus". PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Parler, a social networking service favoured by many supporters of US President Donald Trump, sued Amazon on Monday (Jan 11), accusing its Internet hosting service of making an illegal, politically motivated decision to shut down its account.

In an antitrust complaint filed with the US District Court in Seattle, Parler accused Amazon of hypocrisy for suggesting a lack of confidence it could police its platform, including by finding and removing content that encouraged violence.

Parler said Amazon Web Services shut down its account on Sunday night despite making no threats to suspend Twitter, where it said one of the top-trending tweets on Friday night had been "Hang Mike Pence," the US vice president.

"AWS's decision to effectively terminate Parler's account is apparently motivated by political animus," the complaint said. "Parler has not only lost current and future customers, but Parler has also been unable to find an alternative web hosting company. In short, AWS false claims have made Parler a pariah."

Parler wants a court order requiring Amazon to reinstate its account and provide services it had contracted for. It is also seeking unspecified triple damages.

Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Parler was not immediately available for comment.

Twitter permanently suspended Trump's personal account, #realDonaldTrump, on Friday night, citing the "risk of further incitement of violence." That suspension came two days after the US Capitol was stormed by a mob of Trump supporters.

The Republican president had earlier asked Pence to overturn the results of the Nov 3 presidential election at a joint session of Congress. Pence did not, and Congress confirmed the election of Democrat Joe Biden.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.