Creating a public forum marketed towards "free speech" seems to me to fall into roughly the same category as a torrent tracker or other file sharing service. Not exactly illegal (maybe), but definitely not something that the cloud providers want to be associated with.
In Sweden we have Flashback.org, an old school PHPBB/vBulletin-looking forum with a very strong free speech stance (attracting all kind of people, including those you can imagine being enticed by those rules). It's of course not hosted on any cloud plattform, or using services from any big hip tech company.
Honestly it seems like a strange misstake for them to do, if you are dealing in one of these gray areas, you should probably find some hosting provider / ISP actually interested in hosting you and just do it yourself.
* “Fry’em up. The whole fkn crew. #pelosi #aoc #thesquad #soros #gates #chuckschumer #hrc #obama #adamschiff #blm #antifa we are coming for you and you will know it.”
* “#JackDorsey ... you will die a bloody death alongside Mark Suckerturd [Zuckerberg].... It has been decided and plans are being put in place. Remember the photographs inside your home while you slept? Yes, that close. You will die a sudden death!”
* “We are going to fight in a civil War on Jan.20th, Form MILITIAS now and acquire targets.”
* “On January 20th we need to start systematicly [sic] assassinating [sic] #liberal leaders, liberal activists, #blm leaders and supporters, members of the #nba #nfl #mlb #nhl #mainstreammedia anchors and correspondents and #antifa. I already have a news worthy event planned.”
* “Shoot the police that protect these shitbag senators right in the head then make the senator grovel a bit before capping they ass.”
* “After the firing squads are done with the politicians the teachers are next.”
* “Death to @zuckerberg @realjeffbezos @jackdorsey @pichai.”
* “White people need to ignite their racial identity and rain down suffering and death
like a hurricane upon zionists.”
* “Put a target on these motherless trash [Antifa] they aren’t human taking one out
would be like stepping on a roach no different.”
* “We need to act like our forefathers did Kill [Black and Jewish people] all Leave
no victims or survivors.”
* “We are coming with our list we know where you live we know who you are and
we are coming for you and it starts on the 6th civil war... Lol if you will think it’s
a joke... Enjoy your last few days you have.”
* “This bitch [Stacey Abrams] will be good target practice for our beginners.”
* “This cu* [United States Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao] should be...
hung for betraying their country.”
* “Hang this mofo [Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger] today.”
* “HANG THAt N*** ASAP”
I would personally prefer to have that decision be taken by a governmental agency or anything else managed by an elected person. Now, I'm not a US citizen, and I have zero trust in the current US administration, but in a "normal" context I would want to have at least some governmental overview of the shutdown process instead of delegating the full power to a private corporation.
Edit: In a "Trump" context, I really don't know... Really sad to see this country dying slowly.
Parler has shown no intent to work within the boundaries of AWS TOS. Instead of putting in the work of finding and migrating to other hosting solutions (of which there are many) they used stall tactics. When stalling no longer worked, they brought a junk lawsuit against AWS.
If I ran a SaaS I definitely wouldn't want to submit a form to some government entity and wait 3 months for some bureaucrat to decide whether or not I can stop serving a customer that I am contractually allowed to stop serving.
It only had that power because Parler gave it to them. Parler didn't have to sign a contract they couldn't fulfill. And Parler will be able to find another way to host.
Relevant part of the document:
>Parler’s allegations of harm contradict its own public statements. Parler’s CEO has assured users that Parler “prepared for events like [the termination] by never relying on Amazon's [sic] proprietary infrastructure,” that the site will be fully operational “with less then[sic] 12 hours of downtime” after termination, and that Parler has “many [companies] competing for [its] [hosting] business.”
Mods can add a [.pdf] in title, perhaps. :)
If that’s all true, then to me it seems reasonable. I’d liken it to DCMA Takedowns - if you respond to them in a timely manner, and your site’s primary purpose isn’t sharing copyrighted content, you’re fine. You’re in trouble though if you refuse to take down the copyrighted content, despite receiving DCMA Takedowns.
This would be very contentious, though. Many, many Americans would be strongly against the government telling private companies how to moderate speech on their platforms. It may even be unconstitutional - would a formal, legal framework represent the government restricting free speech?
I can also report them and it might be removed fairly quickly. How? Remember all those articles about the practical slave labor camps of content reviewers with psychological problems that everybody was horrified by? And how we said we needed to stop doing that? Yeah, Parler doesn't have those slave camps.
And by the way, do you know how long it took for FB and Twitter to get to semi-decent moderation?
“During one of the calls, Parler’s CEO reported that Parler had a backlog of 26,000 reports of content that violated its community standards and remained on its service.”
Parler might have refused on some of them, but the above is obviously a big part of the issue. Plus, if some people are willing to justify Twitter leaving up the "hang Mike Pence" stuff, then surely there will be some disagreement about what exactly should be removed on Parler based on context, yes?
Source: not on twitter but am familiar with the video
> When the rioters could not find and fulfil their ill-formed dreams in the real life, they took to Twitter to express their wish to hang Mike Pence, and soon the phrase started trending on Twitter. 
Parler refused to do anything about it and built their whole business on being a safe space for people wanting to incite and plan violence. That’s the difference.
Parler is absolutely guilty of violating TOS because as near as I can tell the entire purpose of Parler was to facilitate this kind of discussion.
That being said, there is a double standard at work as well. The fascist movement we're discussing here probably would not exist were it not for the YouTube recommendation algorithm, which in an effort to keep people on the site has a powerful "rabbit hole" effect. Twitter has also been full of propaganda for years, and only recently have they put forth much effort to do anything about it... because they were making money off the attention it brought to the platform. Nothing happens to these companies because they are bigger, have more money, and own their own infrastructure.
Not sure why people insist on posting comments like those identified. If you were publicly identified as making those comments, you would definitely be at risk of losing friends/jobs etc.
But that said, Parler isn't alone in their issue with inappropriate comments.
Additionally, Amazon says Parler does moderate and remove content, but not with a sense of urgency. How does Amazon define this sense of urgency? Parler was suspended because it wasn't quick enough to remove posts all while trying to manage 12 million users, 2.3 million DAU, and have explosive growth. Is a backlog of 26000 reports really a large number?
AWS have addressed that point.
If this is not clear, I do not know what is.
Meanwhile, traditional media implicitly aligns minds to defend Democrat/Republican duopoly, who in turn protect American aristocratic power, lest those poor billionaires suffer humiliating figurative death.
I do not really see the “I was hear first so I won for life.” as fostering open debate.
That said, yeah. I don't know why people are screaming so hard about censorship when the simple truth is that this was an attempt to retroactively apply moderation to a community that had verifiably gotten out of control, at a moment where it was clear that many of these threats were real and not just rhetoric.
- Amazon was within its legal and ethical rights to do this, and ought to win any court cases, etc.
- The aggregate situation of de-platforming of individuals and entire platforms from the Internet by a few unilateral decisions by corporations reveals a power structure we ought to not want (it has always been there, but now it's undeniably shown itself willing and able to exercise its power when needed) since it will inevitably be abused given incentives and the lack of checks and balances on it.
When it's more than five separate organizations that all independently decide to deplatform is it still a unilateral decision? I also doubt these decisions were made unilaterally in the companies themselves.
In this specific circumstance do we need to regulate these businesses to keep them from removing content related to organizing a violent insurrection?
No one even removed this content until these groups literally stormed the capital chanting about hanging members of congress. I don't see the problem.
Mentioned elsewhere, the process we should all wants is one where if a company wants to nuke an entire speech platform like this due to illegal speech, they can get a judge to affirm the legality of the content and the negligence of those who are hosting it. With that in hand, their actions would be immune from criticism. Without it, we find ourselves here, where we basically have to trust them to make the right decision and not abuse their power. It's not what we should want, for the same reason that we should have wanted anti-trust laws in place to reduce the power of monopolists, despite the fact that monopolists were operating entirely legally and often ethically.
At the risk of a stupid analogy, AWS have near-Death Star like capability at this point, so blowing up Alderaan in the name of killing a few people on it the local government seems unwilling to seems like it should have a few checks and balances.
If someone buys a rents a bunch of vms and use it to DDOS Amazon do they need a judges order then?
Electoral college picks the President but two elections on and no popular vote wins for Trump.
If we’re talking about suppression of speech, seems like Trump was keen on doing that as well, on the backs of a political minority.
So now what?
Is the complaint really that the gatekeepers are different than they were 30 or 100 years ago?
Or that there is no realistic alternative that could have acted, citing some authority you find more agreeable, in an effective timeframe?
I've argued for years having a few companies mediate all consequential human communication was going to be a big problem, so this happening to wake people up of the dangers isn't a surprise to me but just another stage of the process of people realizing it.
You're omitting a key detail. This competitor was getting popular specifically because of their promise not to remove such violent content, while Facebook and Twitter were steadily ramping up efforts to remove it from their platforms.
They also just demonstrated the ability to collaborate to destroy a company they didn't like without some kind of legal order forcing them to.
Parler's sin was basically to attempt no moderation whatsoever, and even after it was clear that several individuals intended to make good on their threats (see the invasion of the Capitol), did not seem to be willing to make any serious attempts to moderate content. See ¶6 of https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.wawd.294664... for some discussion.
(Note that the executive's name in that declaration is redacted because (s)he is legitimately concerned for violence should their name be made available to the public.)
Shouldn't anyone who plans a violent act on Facebook or Twitter (or Reddit, or HN, or wherever) be banned?
Note that both of those sites are ALSO in the process of desperately cleaning up their violent sub-communities. There's a somewhat humorous running gag right now of conservative thought leaders suddenly complaining that their follower counts are going down.
And as far as Parler specifically: it didn't "suddently get popular" in a vacuum. Parler absolutely was functioning as a kind of "ban evasion mechanism for Twitter". People who got tossed from Twitter (generally, yes, for violent rhetoric) would find a home there, and bring there followers. There was very little organic growth, it was effectively all cannibalized from Twitter.
Please tell me why that would be bad, I'm interested to know.
There is one rail line to carry grain in and out of a community. That rail line is a common carrier. It shouldn't be able to arbitrarily decide whose cargo to carry or not.
There is realistically only one ISP at my home. That should be a common carrier. They shouldn't be able to arbitrarily choose which IP addresses I can connect to or not, or what ports I can choose to talk on. I realistically have no choice on who to choose for that, so there's no market for alternative providers for me.
AWS is not a common carrier. If you get dropped from AWS there's still Google Cloud, Azure, Oracle Cloud, IBM/Softlayer, Hertzner, Digital Ocean, Linode, Hostgator, Dreamhost, and so many other smaller cloud/VPS providers out there. And that's assuming you're for some reason entirely unable to roll your own hardware and move your app into a colo, of which there are literally hundreds of providers in the US alone. There is lots of competition in the cloud hosting industry, and if you widen it to the hosting industry in general its extremely wide.
It has been suggested by many people that in fact the causality goes the other way. The reason for the near-simultaneous action against Parler from Twilio, Google, Apple and Amazon seems likely to have been a strong suggestion from Federal law enforcement about an imminent threat.
There's no evidence for that per se, but certainly the threat seems imminent.
There have been a lot of livestreams and general calls of hate and violence on those social media sites from all political spectrums. Where are their bans? That's why theres an uproar.
New York Times, A Genocide Incited on Facebook, With Posts From Myanmar’s Military
Pretty sure that can be considered violence. I think I feel that way due to the genocide part. Where's Facebook's ban? Oh wait, that's right, big tech is it's own good ol'boys club.
This may well be true. But the point is now we're arguing a very subjective standard, and the determiners of those standards aren't a judge or jury, but a few CEOs. The standard of "when is it justified to refuse to host an entire platform based upon the nature of how they moderate their worst content" is an incredibly complex question, with no objective answer, and how these company's answer it has a profound effect on freedom of speech, since deplatforming a site like Parler doesn't just censor the speech of those who ought to be censored (by any standard), but everyone else on the platform.
It's fairly obvious where this will lead, but I doubt we will correct it before it causes immense harm (not necessarily directly, but due to the blowback that will come from censorship without due process and tit-for-tat escalation.)
That is totally legal process's role. Anyone hope a A decide what B should do for C is just not understanding the dynamics in human society.
Twitter let ISIS terrorists post beadings and murders on its platform. A simple search on any racial keyword will show plenty of hatred that is everywhere on its platform.
Facebook, not even talking about what they do, the way they use data, advertise, and leave content that is racist/dangerous.
And now that parler jumps in without the $ of twitter and facebook and the process/software that took years for a FB to be able delete violent content then we censor them from the outside?
How about we censor google for doing business with china and promoting censorship? Id say that is a good enough argument for the US governement to nationalize google and remove them from their monopoly.
Competitor to what? Amazon isn't particularly relevant in the social media space. (Goodreads and IMDB are the most social sites they run afaik, and that's a bit far fetched)
I wonder if they'd do same when the CCP is hosting stuff on their server such as list of people or software that directly help to put people into jail.
There is a tendency within tech to think there are bad guys and good guys. I see 0 difference between palantir/parler and amazon,fb,google. Or yes there is. the scale of the later is way scarier and way more dangerous for us. aaron schwartz sad death anniversary was 2 days ago and yet we never learn, we don't understand that this is just showing how dangerous those platforms can be for the people.