Apple and Google Ban Parler, Amazon Considering Same Move

Self-described “free speech” platform, Parler, has been banned on Apple Google’s respective app stores. Amazon said it is considering similar action.

The drama continues to reach new heights. Last week, after a “Save America” rally, Trump and his close allies encouraged his supporters to storm the US Capitol. In response, those Trump supporters launched an assault on the government buildings. Those same supporters then proudly posted pictures and video’s on social media, allowing social media to be massive trove of evidence for investigators.

Twitter quickly banned Trump for 12 hours on the day of the attack. This showed that the floodgates were open for kicking the president off of the various platforms. Shopify, for instance, banned Trump. On the same day, after tentatively banning Trump, Facebook permanently suspended Trump’s account as well. On the same day, Twitter made the big decision to permanently ban Trump. Trump, of course, used Twitter as his main platform to spew his conspiracy theories and lies. So, of all the bans, the Twitter one is arguably the most considerable one of the online platforms.

Shortly after, the fallout continued to grow. Other major right wing players were getting swept up in the purge. In addition to that, there were rumblings that the purge would include right wing platform, Parler. Apple said that they were potentially going to ban the platform from their app store. Apple reportedly gave Parler an ultimatum: either the platform removes the extremist content or get kicked out of the app store.

Now, we are learning that Amazon has gone ahead and banned Parler from their app store. From Al Jazeera:

Amazon has announced it will suspend Parler, a social media platform popular with right-wing users that has already been banned by Apple and Google for failing to prevent the spread of “threats of violence” after a deadly riot at the United States Capitol.

In an email from Amazon Web Services to Parler, first reported by BuzzFeed News, Amazon said it plans to suspend Parler as of 07:59 GMT on Monday because it poses a “very real risk to public safety”.

“We’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms of service,” reads the email, the contents of which were confirmed by Amazon to Reuters and AFP news agencies.

Amazon also said there was a “serious risk that this type of content will further incite violence”.

Apple and Google have both apparently banned Parler from their app stores as well. From Rolling Stone:

One day after Google banned Parler — the “free speech” social media app favored by Trump supporters — from its app store, Apple followed suit. Later that same night, BuzzFeed reported and CNN confirmed, that Amazon plans to suspend Parler’s account with their web services on Sunday night. Without a web host, the app will go offline until it finds one.

On Friday, Apple announced Parler had 24 hours to implement a “moderation improvement plan” or risk banishment, citing complaints that the app was used to plan and execute the domestic terror attack on the U.S. Capitol. By the next morning, it was the top trending app on the App Store, but Apple removed it later in the day.

“We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” Apple said in a statement explaining the decision. “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety.”

BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski reported late Saturday that he obtained an email to Parler from an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Trust and Safety team that threatened to suspend the platform’s account at 11:59 p.m. Sunday if it did not comply with their terms of service. The email also said Amazon did not find Parler’s plan to have volunteers moderate its content adequate.

“Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms. It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective [moderation] process to comply with the AWS terms of service,” the email said. “[W]e cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others.”

Obviously, the tech giants like Apple and Google can’t control everything that goes on at Parler. Still, by banning it from the app store, it becomes harder for people to casually join the site in the first place. So, while people are still free to join Parler even after such bans take place, it makes it harder to do so.

Meanwhile, the news comes as word is surfacing about more arrests being made in connection to the terrorist attack. In one case, one of the insurrectionist was seen carrying zip ties. Many who saw the pictures think that one of the intentions of the insurrectionists was to take politicians hostage, escalating things even further. Obviously, those lawmakers had been evacuated already. As a result, no hostages could be taken. Now, reports are surfacing that the so-called “zip tie guy” has been arrested. From Fox13Memphis:

A man in Nashville was charged today in connection with the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Eric Gavelek Munchel is accused of being one of two men who stormed the U.S. Capitol with zip-ties. He is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

Larry Rendell Brock of Texas was also arrested for entering the capitol during the riot with zip ties and faces similar charges.

According to the United States Department of Justice, both men were arrested Sunday in Tennessee and Texas, respectively.

It is alleged that Brock was one of the individuals wearing a green helmet, green tactical vest with patches, black and camo jacket, and beige pants holding a white flex cuff, which is used by law enforcement to restrain and/or detain subjects.

It is alleged that Munchel was inside of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Photos depicting his presence show a person who appears to be Munchel carrying plastic restraints, an item in a holster on his right hip, and a cell phone mounted on his chest with the camera facing outward, ostensibly to record events that day.

The report doesn’t carry the specific pictures, but Forbes has it while noting that two people carrying zip ties were arrested.

Some might be seeing the charges that are coming in early as somewhat light. This led some to wonder if the insurrectionists will get off light. Others speculate that the lighter charges are simply the easy ones to lay before laying the bigger charges. The purpose being to pick the perpetrators up quickly. The latter speculation appears to be holding out. News is surfacing that investigators have opened 25 domestic terrorism investigations in the wake of the assault. From USNews:

At least 25 domestic terrorism cases have been opened as a result of Wednesday’s deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told a Democratic lawmaker on Sunday.

The Justice Department also said two more men were arrested in connection with the rioting on Wednesday.

Representative Jason Crow, a member of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, said McCarthy told him the Pentagon was aware of “further possible threats posed by would-be terrorists” in the days up to and including the inauguration of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20.

“Long guns, Molotov cocktails, explosive devices and zip ties were recovered, which suggests a greater disaster was narrowly averted,” Crow, a former Army Ranger, said in a summary of his call with McCarthy.

McCarthy assured him the Pentagon was working with local and federal law enforcement to coordinate security preparations after what he described as “deficient law enforcement threat reporting” ahead of last Wednesday.

In addition to this, the Canadian government is considering designating white supremacy group, The Proud Boys, a terrorist organization. From Global:

The federal government is working to determine whether the Proud Boys should be formally designated as a terrorist organization.

“As Minister Blair has said, we strongly denounce ‘ideologically motivated extremists including groups like the Proud Boys, white supremacists, anti-Semitics, Islamaphobic and misogynist groups,’” Mary-Liz Power, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told Global News. “Intolerance and hate have no place in our society.”

Power said national security and law enforcement agencies are “very actively engaged in monitoring the activities of these groups, and gathering the evidence required to support a determination of listing as a Terrorist Organization.”

If the Proud Boys are designated as a terrorist organization by the federal government the group would be joining a long list of other entities including the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the Islamic State.

So, another day, another slew of dramatic developments in this quickly evolving story.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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