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Judge: Amazon Doesn't Have to Restore Parler Now

Court rules on injunction but not the entire case
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 21, 2021 4:45 PM CST

(Newser) – Amazon won't be forced to immediately restore web service to Parler after a federal judge ruled Thursday. The court was considering a plea to reinstate the fast-growing social media app, which is favored by followers of former President Donald Trump. US District Judge Barbara Rothstein said she wasn't dismissing Parler's "substantive underlying claims" against Amazon, the AP reports, but said it had fallen short in demonstrating the need for an injunction forcing it back online. Amazon kicked Parler off its web-hosting service on Jan. 11. In court filings, it said the suspension was a "last resort" to block Parler from harboring violent plans to disrupt the presidential transition. The Seattle tech giant said Parler had shown an "unwillingness and inability" to remove a slew of dangerous posts that called for the rape, torture, and assassination of politicians, tech executives, and many others.

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The social media app, a magnet for the far right, sued to get back online, arguing that Amazon had breached its contract and abused its market power. It said Trump was likely on the brink of joining the platform, following a wave of his followers who flocked to the app after Twitter and Facebook expelled Trump after the Jan. 6 assault on the US Capitol. Parler CEO John Matze asserted in a court filing that Parler's shutdown was motivated at least partly by "a desire to deny President Trump a platform on any large social-media service." Matze said Trump had contemplated joining the network as early as October under a pseudonym. The Trump administration last week declined to comment on whether he had planned to join. Amazon denied its move to pull the plug on Parler had anything to do with political animus. It claimed that Parler had breached its business agreement "by hosting content advocating violence and failing to timely take that content down." (Amazon had criticized Parler's lack of content moderation.)

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