Parler founder and CEO John Matze said his company is “prepared to take full legal action” after several big tech companies suspended the social media network from their services, according to an email.
John Matze, Parler’s founder, told The Epoch Times in an email that he believes Apple, Google, and Amazon had acted in bad faith and that the social media platform is considering legal action.
Responding to accusations that Parler was enabling “threats of violence and illegal activity,” Matze said these companies are using recent events to “go after Parler,” even though “there is no evidence Parler was used to coordinate the events.”
“Parler has no groups-style feature, and Facebook was the number one tool for coordinating meetups for that event,” Matze said.
The targeted moderation by these companies against Parler came after civil unrest and acts of violence marred a largely peaceful protest at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. A group of rioters and a minority of protesters waving American and Trump flags illegally stormed the Capitol building as lawmakers were counting electoral votes in a joint session of Congress. The mayhem on the day left five people dead, including one police officer, and dozens of officers injured.
In response to the Capitol breach, a number of Silicon Valley technology companies ramped up their policing of statements and comments from President Donald Trump, conservatives, and other voices they say may cause harm. Twitter on Jan. 8 permanently removed Trump’s account on its platform and justified its censorship by saying the president had violated its “Glorification of Violence Policy” after he posted a message urging protesters to remain peaceful and leave the Capitol. The Trump campaign Twitter account has also been removed.
Parler, which has attracted a large following of classical liberal and conservative-leaning users, appeared to have been targeted for lacking a system to “implement robust moderation for egregious content.”
Apple said in a statement to media outlets on Jan. 9 that they believe Parler had “not taken adequate measures to address” the proliferation of “threats of violence and illegal activity.”
“We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues,” the statement said.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ questions about the ban.
Similarly, Amazon told Parler that they would be shutting Parler’s servers at midnight Jan. 10, over what it says is the platform’s alleged lax approach to violent content posted by its users. Parler disputes this claim.
Amazon also didn’t immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ questions about the suspension.
Matze said he believes these companies are also operating with a double standard.
“Twitter let ‘Hang Mike Pence’ trend the same day Parler was banned from Google … the double standard is obvious,” he said.
The big tech suspension came after Parler rose to become the number one application in Apple’s app store on Jan. 9, following Twitter’s suspension of Trump’s personal account. Matze said his social media network had around 20 million accounts at the time the companies suspended them.
Mobile app analytics company Sensor Tower told The Wrap in a statement that Parler saw approximately 182,000 first-time downloads in the United States on Jan. 8, which is up 355 percent on Jan. 7. The app saw about 268,000 installs across U.S. app stores since Jan. 6, the statement said.
Matze said on his Parler account late Jan. 9 that he believes Amazon, Google, and Apple coordinated to “try and ensure they don’t have competition.”
“They will NOT win! We are the worlds last hope for free speech and free information,” he said.
“This is a battle against all of us. Liberals, conservatives, atheists, Christians, black, white, etc. They want to keep their monopoly over speech. They want us fighting. They don’t want us working together. They don’t want us working with each other, they want us hating one another.”
Unbalanced policing of user content and certain political views has raised concerns over First Amendment rights and the lack of checks and balances on decisions made by big tech companies. Discussions over limiting or eliminating liability protections under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act for tech companies that have engaged in censoring or political conduct have been heavily discussed in the past year.
Twitter’s move to remove Trump’s account has received widespread scrutiny. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, State Secretary Mike Pompeo, and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley likened Twitter’s move to conduct by the communist regime in China.