Tech companies cutting off Parler could be a “kiss of death”


Before, during, and even after the violent attack on the Capitol, the social media site Parler was a megaphone for Trump supporters.

“We need to start systematically assassinating #liberal leaders,” read one post. In another now-deleted message posted the day after the attack, pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood called for Vice President Mike Pence’s execution, writing “Get the firing squads ready, Pence goes FIRST.”

“These are things that mainstream social networks have policies against,” said Kevin Roose, a tech columnist for The New York Times. “And so, if you got kicked off Twitter for saying them, a lot of the time your next step was to make a Parler account and just move your followers over there.”

CBS News


Over the weekend, Amazon became the latest tech giant to notify Parler it was suspending its account.

Asked for comment, Amazon directed us to an email obtained by Buzzfeed News, in which an Amazon Web Services safety team told Parler: “Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in … violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms.”

CBS News consumer investigative correspondent Anna Werner asked Roose, “Do you think this is the end of Parler?”

“I think losing your app store privileges and losing your web host is about as close to a ‘kiss of death’ as you can get in the world of apps,” Roose replied.

In a phone interview with Fox News, Parler CEO John Matze defended the platform, and said Amazon’s move could put the company out of business.

“It’s obvious collusion,” Matze said, “and they are doing it, you know, to stifle free speech and competition in the marketplace, and this could happen to literally anybody.”

Amazon’s decision comes after both Apple and Google banned Parler from their app stores.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have also suspended President Trump’s accounts, citing the risk of further incitement of violence.

The moves prompted criticism from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who tweeted: “Silencing speech is dangerous. It’s un-American.” Later this morning, a pro-Trump demonstration is expected to be held at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco (even though most of the company’s employees are working from home).

But Roose said of the social media suspensions, “It’s not like these people just got banned from these platforms because they, you know, said something mean or called someone a name. I mean, there was bloodshed. This is real violence, and there may be more to come.”

Late last night, Parler’s CEO said the site will likely be offline longer than expected. That’s because other vendors have also dropped the site following Amazon, Google and Apple’s actions.

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