Skip to Content
Tech policy

Amazon has pulled Parler offline

Parler had come under pressure over the weekend as Google then Apple pulled its app from their app stores.
January 11, 2021
Parler logo
Parler logo
AP

What's happening: Parler, a site that bills itself as a “free speech social network” and that was widely used to coordinate the storming of the Capitol last week, has gone offline after Amazon stopped hosting it on Sunday night, citing violations of the terms of service.

Why?: BuzzFeed obtained a copy of the email from Amazon informing Parler of the decision. It said: “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 process to comply with the AWS terms of service.” Parler had come under mounting pressure over the weekend as Google and then Apple pulled its app from their app stores over its role as a platform used to plan violent, illegal acts and its reluctance to moderate the site more stringently. 

About Parler: Parler launched in 2018 as a virtually unmoderated version of Facebook and Twitter. It was originally a fringe website but has seen user numbers grow rapidly in recent weeks after Biden's election win. Its chief investor is right-wing megadonor Rebekah Mercer. It has become a safe haven for hate group members, conspiracists, and people who have been banned elsewhere online. Violence is regularly discussed openly. For example, conversations on Parler have called for Vice President Mike Pence to be executed. 

Tech taking a stand: The push to exclude Parler from mainstream platforms comes as the tech industry as a whole seems to have reached the end of its fuse with Trump and his more violent supporters. Trump has now been banned by Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, Google, Snapchat, Instagram, Reddit, Twitch, Shopify, TikTok, and Pinterest. Stripe has also stopped processing payments for his campaign website.

Where next for Parler: It is entirely feasible that another hosting company will step in and offer to host Parler. After 8chan, a website used by mass shooters to post videos and manifestoes, was banned by hosting company Cloudflare in 2019, it was back online in just a few weeks.

Deep Dive

Tech policy

wet market selling fish
wet market selling fish

This scientist now believes covid started in Wuhan’s wet market. Here’s why.

How a veteran virologist found fresh evidence to back up the theory that covid jumped from animals to humans in a notorious Chinese market—rather than emerged from a lab leak.

Conceptual illustration showing a file folder with the China flag and various papers flying out of it
Conceptual illustration showing a file folder with the China flag and various papers flying out of it

The US crackdown on Chinese economic espionage is a mess. We have the data to show it.

The US government’s China Initiative sought to protect national security. In the most comprehensive analysis of cases to date, MIT Technology Review reveals how far it has strayed from its goals.

Professor Gang Chen of MIT
Professor Gang Chen of MIT

All charges against China Initiative defendant Gang Chen have been dismissed

MIT professor Gang Chen was one of the most prominent scientists charged under the China Initiative, a Justice Department effort meant to counter economic espionage and national security threats.

Harvard University professor Charles Lieber leaves federal court, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021
Harvard University professor Charles Lieber leaves federal court, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021

The China Initiative’s first academic guilty verdict raises more questions than it answers

Observers hoped that the trial of the prominent Harvard professor Charles Lieber would provide some clues into the future of the Department of Justice’s campaign against Chinese economic espionage.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.