Parler Files New Lawsuit Against Amazon, Says Tech Giant Tried to ‘Destroy’ App

March 4, 2021 Updated: March 4, 2021

Social media company Parler filed a new lawsuit against Amazon Web Services on March 2 and accused the Seattle-based tech giant of attempting to destroy its business after the breach of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Parler accused Amazon of a breach of contract, defamation, and anticompetitive behavior.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) terminated Parler’s hosting contract and alleged that violent threats were made on the app, claiming Parler didn’t act to remove them. It came after the breach of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Parler’s suit stated that Amazon defamed the app by making it a scapegoat of the Jan. 6 breach, noting that Twitter and Facebook also hosted content in connection with the incident.

“Because of AWS’s malicious defamatory statements, Parler’s public reputation suffered severe damage and Parler has had many potential service providers refuse to work with it, hampering and delaying its ability to get back online,” the company’s lawyers wrote.

The lawsuit (pdf) was filed this week in a Washington state court. The firm didn’t give an explanation for why it dropped its previous lawsuit this week.

Parler’s new lawsuit alleged that Amazon engaged in deceptive and unfair trade practices and defamation while saying Parler was victimized by “Amazon’s efforts to destroy an up-and-coming technology company through deceptive, defamatory, anticompetitive, and bad faith conduct.”

When Amazon suspended Parler’s service, it effectively removed the firm from the internet—with the company only coming back online in mid-February with a new hosting service. Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store also removed the app. The Henderson, Nevada-based firm got its services back online with the help of SkySilk, a Los Angeles-based cloud-computing company.

“Parler has been unable to regain the reputation and success it enjoyed before AWS terminated its services,” Parler stated in its new complaint, adding that in the weeks it was offline, Parler lost “tens of millions of” users. “Not surprisingly, when an internet-based company cannot get on the internet, the damage is extraordinary.”

In the dropped lawsuit, Parler—citing messages between former CEO John Matze and an Amazon representative—also claimed that Amazon didn’t care about the content posted on the social media app but was more concerned with whether former President Donald Trump would join the social media app after he was suspended from Twitter, Facebook, and other Big Tech websites.

An Amazon Web Services spokesperson told news outlets on March 3 that Parler’s newest legal challenge has “no merit.”

“AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow. However, as shown by the evidence in Parler’s federal lawsuit, it was clear that there was significant content on Parler that encouraged and incited violence against others, which is a violation of our terms of service,” the spokesperson said.

“Further, Parler was unable or unwilling to promptly identify and remove this content, which coupled with an increase in this type of dangerous violent content, led to our suspension of their services.”