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Parler sues Amazon for removing it from cloud service

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The free speech social media site Parler has sued Amazon on Monday after Amazon Web Services (AWS) suspended Parler from its cloud hosting service following last week’s deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.

RELATED: Leaders in Germany, France disagree with Twitter’s banning of Trump

Google and Apple also suspended the Parler app from their app stores on Friday for failing to moderate “egregious content” posted by users about last Wednesday’s violent storming and siege of the Capitol.

Parler has become popular among conservatives who are fed-up with what they see as censorship and anti-conservative bias from social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

In the complaint filed Monday in a Seattle federal court, Parler is requesting a temporary restraining order to prevent AWS from blacklisting the social media site and argues that AWS is breaching the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.

“AWS’s decision to effectively terminate Parler’s account is apparently motivated by political animus,” Parler argues in its filing. “AWS is violating Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act in combination with Defendant Twitter. AWS is also breaching it[s] contract with Parler, which requires AWS to provide Parler with a thirty-day notice before terminating service, rather than the less than thirty-hour notice AWS actually provided. Finally, AWS is committing intentional interference with prospective economic advantage given the millions of users expected to sign up in the near future.”

Parler alleges that, because it is a direct competitor of Twitter, it is being singled out. It also claimed that Amazon was breaching its contract with Parler.

“Last month, Defendant Amazon Web Services, Inc. (‘AWS’) and the popular social media platform Twitter signed a multi-year deal so that AWS could support the daily delivery of millions of tweets,” the filing reads. “AWS currently provides that same service to Parler, a conservative microblogging alternative and competitor to Twitter.”

“When Twitter announced two evenings ago that it was permanently banning President Trump from its platform, conservative users began to flee Twitter en masse for Parler,” it continues. “The exodus was so large that the next day, yesterday, Parler became the number one free app downloaded from Apple’s App Store.”

“As more of a libertarian, more of a minimal government type of person, I hate relying on the legal system,” Parler CEO John Matze told The Wall Street Journal in a Sunday interview. “I know we have to.”

However, an Amazon Web Services spokesperson said in a statement to this reporter Monday, “There is no merit to these claims. AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow.”

Amazon adds, “However, it is clear that there is significant content on Parler that encourages and incites violence against others, and that Parler is unable or unwilling to promptly identify and remove this content, which is a violation of our terms of service. We made our concerns known to Parler over a number of weeks and during that time we saw a significant increase in this type of dangerous content, not a decrease, which led to our suspension of their services Sunday evening.” 

During an Monday interview on the Fox News program “Mornings with Maria,” Matze told Parler users to “hold on and come back” as the company figures out how to move forward.

“Nobody has presented any credible piece of information or evidence that, you know, there is anything problems on Parler that don’t exist on other platforms,” Matze said.

“This really is a double standard. […] We see all sorts of nasty threatening content on Twitter, much more of it actually, in our opinion, and, actually, a lot of content that’s deleted from Parler still remains on Twitter to this day in the form of screenshots,” Matze continued. “So I don’t understand, you know, what this is really about. Because it is not about holding everybody to account equally. It is about giving preferential treatment to certain people.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”

Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.

RELATED: ‘Let’s play strip poker’: Fmr. Cuomo aide accuses NY governor of sexual harassment

Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.

At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.

RELATED: De Blasio ‘sickened’ by Cuomo sexual harassment claims

“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”

“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”

This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”

RELATED: Cuomo responds to sexual harassment claims, saying he ‘may have been insensitive’

During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.

“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”

“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”

Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.

RELATED: ‘Eat the whole sausage: Gov. Cuomo in hot water for resurfaced video

Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.

“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”

Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.

“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”

He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.

Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”

“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.

MORE ON CUOMO: NY dem says state legislature is ‘inching toward’ Cuomo impeachment probe

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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