Parler drops Amazon lawsuit, then files new one in King County court
On Tuesday, Parler dropped a lawsuit it had filed against Amazon in a U.S. District Court. Hours later, it filed a new lawsuit against the company, this time in King County Superior Court.
The lawsuit Parler dropped was largely rooted in antitrust claims, asserting three claims: Amazon illegally sought to reduce competition in the social media sphere on behalf of Twitter; AWS breached its contract in terminating its agreement with Parler; and Amazon intentionally interfered with Parler’s business relationships.
U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Rothstein initially ruled against all three of those claims in denying Parler a preliminary injunction while the lawsuit played out.
Parler — billed as a refuge for conservatives looking for a refuge from Twitter — came under fire in the wake of the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol, with many of its users advocating for violence against opponents of President Donald Trump.
In terminating its account with Parler in early January, Amazon cited a “steady increase” in that sort of troubling and potentially inciting content in the weeks leading up to the Capitol riot. Both Apple and Google removed Parler from their respective app stores for similar reasons.
Parler’s website and app came back online in mid-February, after moving its hosting to Los Angeles-based cloud computing company SkySilk.
The company’s new lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court focuses less on antitrust violations and more on breaches of contract, unfair trade practices, and allegations of defamation. It is now seeking monetary damages from Amazon, rather than the resumption of hosting services it asked for in its first lawsuit.
In this latest lawsuit, Parler alleges that Amazon violated a provision in its contract that allows for “30 days either to cure or find another host” if there’s problematic content from users.
“From the beginning of their contractual relationship, AWS had known that Parler used a reactive system to deal with problematic content — and not once had AWS said that such a system was insufficient or in violation of the parties’ contract,” the company said in its court filing. “What is more, AWS knew that Parler was testing out a new proactive system that would catch problematic content before it was even posted.”
Amazon countered that claim in a statement to The Verge, saying that “Parler was unable or unwilling to promptly identify and remove this content, which coupled with an increase in this type of dangerous content, led to our suspension of their services.”