A group of Amazon employees is demanding the company sever its relationship with social networking site Parler and stop providing web hosting services to the platform. Amazon Employees for Climate Change and Justice tweeted Saturday that Amazon Web Services, the company’s internet infrastructure service that is the backbone of many websites and apps, should “deny Parler services until it removes posts inciting violence, including at the Presidential inauguration.”
Parler has become popular among supporters of President Trump, as platforms like Twitter and Facebook tightened their moderation policies. The group of Amazon employees includes many higher-skilled workers at the company, including data scientists and software developers. It’s not the first time the group has questioned its company’s practices; it published a letter in April 2019 calling on Amazon to adopt a plan to address climate change, and end AWS’s contracts with fossil fuel companies.
Enough is enough. Amazon hosts Parler on @awscloud.
As Amazon workers, we demand Amazon deny Parler services until it removes posts inciting violence, including at the Presidential inauguration.
We cannot be complicit in more bloodshed and violent attacks on our democracy.
— Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (@AMZNforClimate) January 9, 2021
Parler has been in the spotlight in the past several days, with activist group Sleeping Giants calling for the app to be pulled from app stores in response to posts calling for violence against elected officials. Screenshots show posts on Parler—known as parleys— calling for Vice President Mike Pence to face a firing squad, and encouraging “Patriots” to return to Washington D.C. on January 19th with weapons.
According to the AWS acceptable use policy customers may not use its services “for any illegal, harmful, fraudulent, infringing or offensive use.” AWS cut ties with right-wing social site Gab in 2019, for violating its policy against hateful content.
On Friday, Google removed Parler from its Play Store because it lacked a robust mechanism for moderating “egregious content,” according to a statement. “We’re aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US,” the statement reads.
Apple is reportedly considering a similar ban, but the Parler app was still appearing in its App Store as of Saturday afternoon, where according to one report, it rose to the No. 1 spot late Friday.
Amazon and Parler didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from The Verge on Saturday. Parler CEO John Matze said on the Sway podcast a day after the attack on the Capitol that the company was merely a “neutral town square that just adheres to the law.”