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Parler sues Amazon Web Services after being forced offline

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Parler sued Amazon’s cloud-computing business Monday after the tech titan forced the controversial social network to go dark.

The 18-page complaint filed in Seattle federal court claims Amazon Web Services’ decision to stop hosting Parler was a politically motivated scheme to protect Twitter — another Amazon client — from competition.

“AWS’s decision to effectively terminate Parler’s account is apparently motivated by political animus,” the lawsuit reads. “It is also apparently designed to reduce competition in the microblogging services market to the benefit of Twitter.”

The suit came hours after AWS cut off Parler’s access to its servers because of its failure to police the threats of violence that proliferated on the platform ahead of last week’s pro-President Trump siege on the US Capitol.

Trump’s supporters and other right-wing activists had flocked to Parler since the November presidential election that Trump has constantly tried to undermine with baseless fraud claims.

That growth started to accelerate after Twitter banned Trump from the site Friday over concerns that his posts could incite further violence, Parler’s complaint says, noting that there was speculation that Trump himself would join Parler.

The lawsuit suggests Amazon Web Services pulled the plug on Parler to save Twitter from a growing competitor weeks after the two companies signed a deal that would see AWS support the delivery of “millions of daily tweets.”

Parler contends the decision was unfair given that violent threats also appeared on Twitter over the past week to the extent that the phrase “Hang Mike Pence” became a trending topic, according to the complaint.

“By silencing Parler, AWS silences the millions of Parler users who do not feel their free speech is protected by Twitter or other social media apps,” the suit reads. “What is more, by pulling the plug on Parler but leaving Twitter alone despite identical conduct by users on both sites, AWS reveals that its expressed reasons for suspending Parler’s account are but pretext.”

Parler CEO John Matze has said the platform could be offline for “longer than expected” because the fledgling company is struggling to find another host. The outage will be “financially devastating” for Parler, the lawsuit claims.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday. Twitter declined to comment.