‘Free speech’ network and cesspit of transphobia Parler goes offline after Amazon pulls plug

Someone holds their mobile phone in their hand against the logo of Parler

Parler has been kicked offline after Amazon joined Google and Apple in banning the far-right forum for allegedly inciting violence in the US Capitol siege.

The so-called “free speech” social network provided an alternative to Twitter, where it hosted the likes of Graham Linehan, Katie Hopkins and Milo Yiannopoulos among its 10 million users.

With Google and Apple removing Parler from its app stores last week the platform’s operation was reliant on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing service. But now the third tech giant has pulled the plug, it’s no longer accessible via the web – a critical blow to the far-right site.

Amazon took the decisive action after finding 98 instances of posts on the service which it said encouraged violence.

“Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in … violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms,” Amazon said in a letter to Parler.

“It also seems that Parler is still trying to determine its position on content moderation. You remove some [content] when contacted by us or others, but not always with urgency. Your CEO recently stated publicly that he doesn’t ‘feel responsible for any of this, and neither should the platform’.

“We cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others,” it concluded.

For the past two years Parler had been infamous as a communication hub for transphobia, racism and homophobia, and as a hotbed of falsehoods and misinformation.

The final straw came after a white supremacist mob stormed the US Capitol on 6 January, with many having coordinated plans on Parler.

Google subsequently removed the app from its store for allowing posts that seek “to incite ongoing violence in the US”, and Apple followed suit saying Parler was being used to “plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities”.

Parler chief executive John Matze later lashed out at Amazon, Google and Apple, calling it a “co-ordinated effort” by big tech to close down the platform.

He told Fox News on Sunday that “every vendor from text message services to email providers to our lawyers all ditched us too”.

“We’re going to try our best to get back online as quickly as possible, but we’re having a lot of trouble because every vendor we talk to says they won’t work with us because if Apple doesn’t approve and Google doesn’t approve, they won’t,” he added.

The killer blow comes days after the president himself was hit with a permanent Twitter ban, cutting him off from his 88 million followers.

Parler has been contacted for comment.