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Parler CEO says app will be offline 'longer than expected' because of Amazon, Apple and Google


Parler, a social media app popular with conservatives and supporters of President Donald Trump, has gone offline after Amazon withdrew its support in the wake of the deadly U.S. Capitol riot last week.

The app was reliant on cloud computing power provided by Amazon Web Services.

AWS told Parler on Saturday that it will no longer provide cloud services to the company beginning on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. PT, according to an email obtained by CNBC. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the letter to CNBC, but declined to comment further.

John Matze, the founder and CEO, said in a statement on Monday that the Parler app will be down “longer than expected” because other cloud hosting companies do not want to work with Parler in light of the press statements issued by Amazon, Google and Apple.

“We will likely be down longer than expected,” wrote Matze. “This is not due to software restrictions — we have our software and everyone’s data ready to go. Rather it’s that Amazon’s, Google’s and Apple’s statements to the press about dropping our access has caused most of our other vendors to drop their support for us as well.”

He added: “Most people with enough servers to host us have shut their doors to us. We will update everyone and update the press when we are back online.”

AWS told Parler in the email that it had flagged 98 examples to Parler of posts that “clearly encourage and incite violence.” Among the posts it reported to Parler, which were viewed by CNBC, users on the platform made violent threats directed at “liberal leaders, liberal activists #blm leaders and supporters,” in addition to other groups.

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Screenshots of the Parler app viewed by CNBC show users posting references to firing squads, as well as calls to bring weapons to the presidential inauguration later this month.

Matze condemned the tech giants’ moves in a series of posts on Parler over the weekend, claiming that his platform had removed its violent content and adding that its community guidelines don’t allow Parler to be knowingly used for criminal activity.

“We are the worlds [sic] last hope for free speech and free information. What they are doing is unprecedented, unfounded and absolutely disgusting,” Matze wrote late Saturday night. “They want to keep their monopoly over speech.”

In response to this, an AWS spokesperson told CNBC that AWS provides services to customers across the political spectrum, and confirmed that the suspension took place over content that the company says clearly encouraged violence.

Apple removed Parler from the iPhone App Store on Saturday. The company said that posts on Parler related to the U.S. Capitol riot last week included calls for violence, which violates Apple’s rules against objectionable content.

“We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” an Apple representative said in a statement. “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety. We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues.”

Google removed Parler from its Android app store, Google Play, on Friday.

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“In order to protect user safety on Google Play, our longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like posts that incite violence,” said a Google spokesperson.

“All developers agree to these terms and we have reminded Parler of this clear policy in recent months. We’re aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the U.S. We recognize that there can be reasonable debate about content policies and that it can be difficult for apps to immediately remove all violative content, but for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content. In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app’s listings from the Play Store until it addresses these issues.”

The news follows Twitter’s permanent suspension of Trump’s Twitter account, which had 88 million followers, over what it said was the president’s incitement of violence linked to the storming of the Capitol Building, which lead to five deaths. Trump later condemned the violence. Trump has also been banned from Facebook and Instagram.

Gab, a similar social network to Parler known for its far-right userbase and a frequent host of hate speech, appears to be benefiting from the fallout. On Monday, Gab CEO Andrew Torba announced that the platform had gained 600,000 new users.

— Additional reporting by CNBC’s Annie Palmer and Natasha Turak.



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