A federal judge on Thursday declined to force Amazon to resume hosting the social networking app Parler on its cloud computing platform. This is not in the public interest.
Amazon kicked Parler, who had become a hangout for far-right conservatives, off its platform in the days following the January 6 riot at the Capitol. Parler then sued Amazon, accusing the tech giant of failing to adequately warn of the termination of its services, and asking the court to force Amazon to host the social network. Parler also argued in his complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western Washington District that Amazon partnered with Twitter in violation of antitrust laws.
Amazon responded that Parler has not moderated the violent and red-hot content on its website sufficiently and has no choice but to act quickly. It has also been denied having any contact with Twitter on the matter.
The judge Barbara J. Rothstein ruled that Parler made “only weak and factually imprecise speculations” about the alleged collusion between Amazon and Twitter. It also noted that “there is no debate” that Amazon’s commitment to reinstating Parler now, before the social network could establish an effective content moderation system, “would result in the continued posting of abusive, violent content “prompted Amazon to start Parler in the first place. The court, she wrote, “specifically rejects” forcing Amazon to deliver this type of violent speech.
Judge Rothstein wrote that the riot in the Capitol was “a tragic reminder that inflammatory rhetoric – faster and easier than many of us would have hoped – can turn a legitimate protest into a violent uprising.”
Although the judge did not dismiss the case outright, she wrote that Parler “has not been able to show that it is likely that he will prevail on the matter”.
Jeffrey Wernick, Parler’s chief operating officer, said in a statement that the litigation is still in its early stages. “We remain confident that we will ultimately prevail in the main case,” he said.