📓 A quick guide to Parler and deplatforming

You may have heard about Parler for the first time this week. The social media app, used mostly by strident conservatives, was kicked off Google, Apple, and Amazon, effectively making it disappear. 

Here’s a rundown of some of the legal nuances related to what’s known as deplatforming. 

What’s new? 

Parler responded to the Amazon ban by filing a lawsuit against Amazon, which hosted Parler’s website. It claims Amazon engaged in anticompetitive behavior; Amazon says it made the decision after Parler failed to police violent content. 

What are the legal implications?

Legal analysts say Amazon has fairly wide legal power to end hosting deals with customers, especially those accused of violating terms of services. The ACLU has warned that Amazon’s move is troubling, however, because through its web hosting business, it “holds the keys to the internet” and can strictly police speech.  

Is this unprecedented?

Not quite, although it is highly unusual. In the past, however, companies have severed ties with companies they have hosted, and some of those companies have failed to find new hosts. Prominent examples include other hate-ridden sites like The Daily Stormer and 8chan.