Amazon v. Parler: A Non-Antitrust Dispute

By Marianela Lopez-Galdos, Project Disco

As antitrust continues to gain momentum in relation to the tech sector, lawyers seem to increasingly think that the antitrust laws can be used to solve commercial disputes that pertain to other areas of law, such as contract law. 

As you may have heard, Amazon Web Services (AWS), a cloud service provider owned by Amazon, decided to suspend controversial social media company Parler following the deadly riots that happened in the Capitol.  Parler is a social media company that competes with Twitter and Facebook, and that has recently gained popularity among conservatives.  AWS decided to suspend Parler’s use of its service after the company repeatedly refused to moderate or remove content that explicitly called for violence, in violation of AWS’s Terms of Service.  As a result of this and Parler’s decisions both before and after the incident, the site is not currently available on the Internet.¹  

Against this contractual dispute, Parler filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon.  In an act of wild speculation, Parler alleges Amazon colluded with Twitter (a company not named as a party) to suspend Parlerfrom AWS for political reasons, and asks the federal judge in Seattle to issue a temporary restraining order restoring Parler’s service. Amazon’s response to the lawsuit can be found here.  

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