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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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Biden frees Venezuelan President Maduro’s drug dealing relatives in prisoner swap

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Joe Biden

President Biden freed two of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s relatives Saturday in exchange for seven jailed Americans. The two nephews of Maduro’s wife Cilia Flores, had been convicted in the United States for drug dealing and sentenced to 18 years in prison, according to the BBC.

According to the report, the swap was in exchange for five American oil executives. Those Americans were “exchanged for two of Mr Maduro’s wife’s nephews, who were serving 18-year sentences in the US on drug charges,” the officials told the BBC. Maduro’s nephews were convicted under the Trump administration and the Venezuelan government claims that they were “unjustly” jailed in the United States.

In a statement from the White House Saturday, Biden said the American’s were  “wrongfully detained.”  He said the American’s  would soon be reunited with their relatives, according to reports.

“Today, we celebrate that seven families will be whole once more. To all the families who are still suffering and separated from their loved ones who are wrongfully detained – know that we remain dedicated to securing their release,” the Biden statement added.

Meanwhile, 13 Republican members of Congress sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, requesting more information on “the intelligence report” that alleges Maduro is emptying his prisons and allowing them to head to the United States in the caravans that crossing the porous border.

The letter states that the report warns Border Patrol agents to be on the look-out for “violent criminals from Venezuela among the migrant caravans heading towards the U.S.-Mexico border.”

“It has been widely reported that the Venezuelan regime, under the control of Nicolás Maduro Moros, is deliberately releasing violent prisoners early, including inmates convicted of ‘murder, rape, and extortion,’ and pushing them to join caravans heading to the United States,” the letter states.

You can follow Sara A. Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC.

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