Judge to rule on whether to force Amazon to put Parler back online

Seattle, Washington – A federal judge in Seattle indicated Thursday she's likely to take a more measured approach than Parler had wished in weighing whether to force Amazon to swiftly reconnect the conservative social media network to the internet.

Amazon suspended Parler's cloud-services account on January 10.
Amazon suspended Parler's cloud-services account on January 10.  © imago images / ZUMA Wire

Nonetheless, US District Judge Barbara Rothstein said she plans to issue her order "as quickly as possible."

Amazon suspended Parler's cloud-services account on January 10 — effectively pulling Parler offline — saying a proliferation of posts advocating violence against political opponents of President Donald Trump violated Amazon's terms of use.

In a lawsuit filed Monday, Parler asked Rothstein to issue an emergency order for Amazon to reinstate its access to Amazon Web Services (AWS), the digital infrastructure powering a wide range of online activity.

Amazon's suspension had "blindsided" Parler, the social network said in legal filings this week. Remaining offline would likely "kill Parler's business — at the very time it is set to skyrocket," the company said in its complaint.

Parler had expected Trump would join the service after he was suspended from Twitter on Friday, likely bringing millions of new users with him, the company said in court filings this week.

Parler disputes rationale for ban

Amazon is arguing that Parler users were directly linked to the Capitol attack.
Amazon is arguing that Parler users were directly linked to the Capitol attack.  © imago images / Hans Lucas

In a Thursday hearing, Rothstein signaled she will likely consider issuing a preliminary injunction prohibiting Amazon from continuing to deny service to Parler.

That would require her to scrutinize both parties' arguments more carefully than she would in weighing an emergency restraining order as Parler had requested.

Amazon has cast its decision to take down Parler in light of the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, which resulted in five deaths. Media outlets reported that some of the mayhem seemed to have been organized on Parler and other messaging boards where conservatives have flocked, and that Parler users had penetrated deep into the Capitol building.

"The events of Jan. 6 changed the way we think about the world," Amazon attorney Ambika Doran said at Thursday's hearing. "It took what was merely hypothetical and made it chillingly real."

Parler has said in legal filings that purported ties between its site and the Capitol riot rely on spurious and misleading evidence.

Cover photo: imago images / ZUMA Wire

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