Social media company Parler filed a subpoena Wednesday requesting documents that relate to Twitter's alleged collusion with Amazon Web Services to deplatform the app following the events of Jan. 6, 2021.
Amazon, Apple and Google left the app "virtually homeless" in early January 2021, CNN reported, when all three Big Tech companies kicked Parler off their platforms, saying it enabled the Jan. 6 protest at the Capitol.
"Parler will continue to fight against Big Tech companies like Amazon Web Services and Twitter that attempt to stifle innovation and free speech through anticompetitive practices," George Farmer, CEO of Parler, said in a statement. "We will continue to stand against cancel culture and the mob mentality."
Issued by Superior Court for the State of Washington King County, the subpoena requests documents related to "continuing abuse of power and anticompetitive conduct of Big Tech companies," including those related to Twitter blocking former President Donald Trump, Amazon hosting Parler and Twitter on its cloud services, how Twitter responded to government subpoenas in connection with the 2020 election and Parler's contractual relationship with Amazon.
In the wake of Parler's deplatforming last January, CNBC reported that the incident shows just how much power Amazon wields because so many companies rely on it to deliver computing and data storage.
In 2019, Amazon controlled 45% of the cloud infrastructure, more than any other company, according to estimates from technology research company Gartner. While Parler survived without being listed in Apple and Google's app stores, the app was missing from the internet for days after getting banished from Amazon's cloud.
In April 2021, NBC News reported that Apple had reinstated Parler in its App Store.
Timothy Powderly, Apple's senior director of government affairs, wrote a letter to Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., stating that Parler had been allowed back into the company's app store as of April 14.
The letter also said Parler's "moderation practices were clearly inadequate to protect users from this harmful and dangerous content."
Claiming it was "an independent decision to remove Parler for non-compliance with the Guidelines, and it did not coordinate or otherwise consult with Google or Amazon," Powderly's letter said the company "stands by its decision" to initially ban the app.
Founded in 2018, Parler bills itself as a "viewpoint-neutral free speech social media platform." The app is popular among conservatives and was the most downloaded app on Apple’s store in November 2020 following the presidential election and again after Jan. 6.
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