Parler Sues Amazon Again – Claims Defamation, Valuation Loss

Parler is making a second attempt to sue Amazon. This after the first failed lawsuit that happened after AWS was pulled from the platform.

Online reverberations are continuing to be felt after the January 6th terrorist attack. Shortly after the attack, right wing echo chamber, Parler, got booted from the Apple and Google app stores. This after accusations swirled about the platform turning a blind eye to terrorist content being posted online.

At the time, Amazon issued an ultimatum for the platform: either Parler cleans up its act over terrorism and extremist content or it will discontinue its AWS services. When Parler didn’t comply to Amazon’s satisfaction, AWS pulled the plug on Parler. As a result, the whole platform went offline.

Parler then launched a lawsuit against Amazon. They demanded that Amazon restore AWS services, in part, because their action was anti-competitive. A judge responded by saying that Parler didn’t have a case that should compel Amazon to immediately restore their AWS services. After that, the case against Amazon quickly unraveled, ending with Parler ultimately withdrawing their case.

In the interim, Parler temporarily found sanctuary in Russia via Russian DDOS protection service, DDOS-Guard. That development seemed somewhat fitting given the close ties between right wing extremism and Russia. However, that sanctuary would prove temporary over questions emerged over DDOS-Guard’s management of some of its IP addresses. One of those IP addresses that was being questioned was one that Parler happened to be on.

Last month, Parler announced that it is back online and now running on “independent technology”. Peter Sunde, co-founder of The Pirate Bay, mocked Parler, saying that their whole situation is “embarrassing”. Sunde noted that, back in the day, they had every government and company going after them and they were able to keep their site afloat. Yet, Parler is backed by the Russian government and they couldn’t keep their site afloat. Sunde went on to say that he has no intention of helping Parler.

Now, Parler is taking a second kick at the can with this whole lawsuit thing. From Ars Technica:

Parler’s new suit (PDF)—filed in King County, Washington, where Amazon is headquartered—argues mainly that Parler is no worse than the competition and that Amazon defamed and devalued it when AWS discontinued service.

Parler’s new suit is unimpressed with Amazon’s claims about its old suit.

“Since its inception, Parler has carefully policed any content on its platform that incited violence,” the company claims. “To be sure, AWS had from time to time sent Parler problematic content, which content Parler immediately investigated and resolved.” Besides which, Parler argues, everyone else, including Amazon through its third-party retail marketplace, sells content that incites violence.

And when you get right down to it, Parler alleges, the real problem is money. “Just before all this occurred, Parler was about to seek funding and was valued at one billion dollars—something AWS also knew,” the suit claims. By booting Parler from AWS hosting, the argument follows, Amazon injured Parler and tanked that valuation through “deceptive and unfair trade practices,” defamation, and breach of contract.

The article also notes that Amazon addressed the breach of contract issue in the previous suit. At the time, Amazon said that if there was a breach of contract, it was on Parler’s side where they were unable to identify and moderate extremist content.

It’s no secret that there have been questions about Parler’s involvement in the January 6th terrorist attack. In fact, as we previously reported, the FBI has been asked to investigate Parler’s ties with the terrorist activities on the Capitol buildings. That activity alone can very easily be considered further evidence for Amazon that its original action of cutting off Parler was, in fact, the result of alleged terrorist activity on the platform itself. This might make it more difficult to sell the idea that Amazon’s actions were merely an attempt to destroy the competition (namely Parler). So, it’s really hard to see how this lawsuit could be successful in the first place, but it’s now in the hands of the courts at this point.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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