PARLER SUES AMAZON ALLEGING ANTI-COMPETITIVE BEHAVIOUR

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Microblogging social media company Parler on Monday sued Amazon for terminating its account on Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon subsidiary and one of the largest cloud computing companies on the Internet. Parler’s complaint, filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, where Amazon’s headquarters is located, alleges that Amazon terminated Parler’s account due to political animus, in breach of their contract.

Parler also alleges that Amazon’s behavior constitutes a violation of section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act concerning conspiracy between multiple companies to reduce competition in an industry, usually through price fixing, bid rigging or market allocation. In this case, Parler alleges that Amazon is conspiring with Twitter to reduce competition in the microblogging and social media industry. Twitter also relies on Amazon Web Services for cloud computing. Parler claims that both Twitter and Parler were used by rioters at Capitol Hill to coordinate, but Amazon is enforcing its rules on violence only against Parler.

Parler said that it is unable to simply switch to a rival cloud computing platform, such as Microsoft Azure, since it relies on Amazon’s Application Programming Interface and other underlying code to operate. It therefore alleges that Twitter is poised to retain market share that it would have otherwise lost following Twitter’s ban of Donald Trump.

Parler claims:

50. AWS is aware of Parler’s user numbers and current trends. AWS also knew that Parler was negotiating with it to increase its server capacity given this ongoing and expected growth. AWS also knew of public speculation that Trump, with his nearly 90 million Twitter followers, was going to switch to Parler, likely bringing many of those followers with him. Finally, AWS also knew from public statements that Parler was about to go to the market to raise money. ………………………………………… 51. AWS intentionally will interfere with Parler’s current contracts and future expected customer relationships by terminating Parler’s Agreement with it under the pretext that Parler was in violation of that contract when AWS knew Parler was not in violation (and when Twitter was engaging in identical conductbut AWS did not terminate its contract with Twitter).……………………….52. Parler will be severely damaged financially and reputationally if it must go offline Sunday at midnight because AWS terminates Parler’s account. As noted above, given the speculative nature of Parler’s financial and reputational damages, money damages will not make it whole.
53. Therefore, Parler is entitled to injunctive relief.

Parler seeks a temporary restraining order against Amazon to prevent it from terminating Parler’s web services contract. If the motion is denied, following a hearing, it will be able to seek a preliminary injunction in the future.

See the petition