Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis
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Social media concept.
Social media concept.

Many are questioning the sudden shutdown of Parler

Opponents see the move as an attempt to enforce a social media monopoly

Recently, an alternative social media platform, roughly equivalent to Twitter, was forced offline after Amazon terminated it services:

“Without AWS, Parler is finished as it has no way to get online,” the complaint said. “And a delay of granting this TRO by even one day could also sound Parler’s death knell as President Trump and others move on to other platforms.”

Parler’s lawsuit argues that Amazon has unlawfully sought to restrain competition by eliminating a player from the market.

It also claims Amazon breached its contract with Parler by not providing Parler 30 days’ notice of termination — and that its actions interfere with Parler’s relationships with current and future users.

Brian Fung, “Parler sues Amazon for cutting off its services” at CNN Business

Parler is, of course, fighting back. From a legal document:

As with its “suspension” of service to Parler, AWS’s opposition to Parler’s TRO motion depends on speculation and falsehood. For example, to avoid a clear 30-day notice requirement for terminating its contract, AWS claims its action against Parler was a “suspension,” not a termination. But the indisputable facts show that AWS’s action was termination: During the final call between Parler and AWS before the latter pulled the plug, AWS officials told Parler’s officials that there was nothing Parler could do to get its service back. See infra 2–6.

Even more perniciously, AWS’s opposition relies heavily on the assertion (at 7) that “Parler was used to incite, organize, and coordinate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.” But AWS offers no evidence to support that assertion, only unsupported speculation from reporters.

And AWS has confirmed that none of the arrested participants in that unconscionable attack (who had been publicly identified as of the filing of this action) even had a Parler account, much less used it to “incite, organize or coordinate” the attack.

Vowing that Parler will somehow return as soon as he can find a server willing to risk hosting his platform, CEO John Matze says,

Parler is being held to a different standard than Twitter and Facebook, its CEO told The Epoch Times.

“The standards that we’re held to are higher than that of Facebook and Twitter. And that is wrong, because that is giving preferential treatment to some clients and some customers and not others. And then abruptly terminating us with what I would call bad faith, and doing it so quickly, that there’s no possible way to remedy and doing it in a way so publicly that it tarnishes our brand, and it doesn’t allow us to get anywhere else,” John Matze told The Epoch Times’ “Crossroads.”

“They maliciously did this all at the same time, to ruin our reputation and destroy our business. That is evil.”

Parler, a social media website centered around free speech, was removed from Amazon’s servers overnight Sunday. Before that, Apple and Google had removed its application from their app stores.

Zachary Stieber and Joshua Philipp, “Parler CEO Says Company Being Held to Different Standard Than Twitter, Facebook” at Epoch Times (January 14, 2021)

Many in the popular science media are piling in, seemingly anxious for censorship. For example, we are told,

Parler was a cesspool of racist hate, insurrectionist appeals against the United States, and chillingly specific death threats.

Matt Novak, “Amazon Court Filing Includes Chilling Death Threats Published on Parler” at Gizmodo

Huh?

Please. Abuse is nothing new on the internet. Your Mind Matters News editor, an elderly Canadian journalist, has been a recipient of abuse and veiled threats on the internet for decades.

How about this from 2008:

It’s actually difficult for me to put into words my unadulterated, seething contempt for ignorant hack Denyse O’Leary, after reading this: …

I suppose it’s possible to see things that way if you’re a worthless, dishonest hack like Denyse. And for those of you who prefer not to be a pig-ignorant dingbat like Denyse, well, let PZ introduce you to reality.

Holy f*ck, but I hate that woman. Did I mention how much I hate that woman? A lot.

Do you want to know what this individual’s abuse is even about? It was about my reasonable and civil defense of the philosopher Antony Flew, who decided toward the end of his life that, after all, there is a God.

Yes. That’s all it took to generate that level of hate.

So, do the Silicon Valley types who righteously dump on Parler mean that they have never even noticed all this abuse all these years (and that one is only an infinitesmal smidgen)?

Suddenly Parler is the Big Bad Guy?

Oh, sure.

Multiplying examples of this type would be easy but perhaps not useful.

A sudden uproar about misdeeds on Parler strikes some of us as hypocritical and surely aimed, crassly and entirely for business purposes, at maintaining a monopoly on communications on the internet.

However, the biggest problem, in my view, isn’t the Silicon Valley monopoly protecting its interests. It’s more about what’s wrong with the customers.

So many people think that they should take to Twitter, of all places, to rail about the problem. No! Quit using Twitter as if it speaks for you! It does not and will not. Neither does Facebook. Certainly not Google.

We need three things:

1.Free competition among social media providers.

2.No free lunch. If we don’t pay for social media, we aren’t the customer, we are the product. And it shows. We are surely learning that lesson the hard way.

3.Virtual private networks and independent servers that do not depend on the whims of Silicon Valley billionaires who, for all we know, may have far more money than brains at this point.

How responsible Parler is for what people say on its platform will doubtless need to be sorted out in court. But one can surely insist that any discussion of the topic includes questions like what Google, WordPress, etc., allow people to say on their platforms as well.

One can only hope that courts see the move against Parler for what it is: an attempt to enforce a monopoly, not in the public interest.

Note: Here at Mind Matters News we have been covering a number of stories about Big Tech censorship and data grabs. Have a look, especially, at Google’s Secret Health Data Grab: the Whistleblower Talks: This is the fourth whistleblower in the last eighteen months.


Denyse O'Leary

Denyse O'Leary is a freelance journalist based in Victoria, Canada. Specializing in faith and science issues, she has published two books on the topic: Faith@Science and By Design or by Chance? She has written for publications such as The Toronto Star, The Globe & Mail, and Canadian Living. She is co-author, with neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist'€™s Case for the Existence of the Soul. She received her degree in honors English language and literature.

Many are questioning the sudden shutdown of Parler