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Bans on Parler and Trump Show Big Tech’s Power Over Web Conversation

  • Google, Apple, Amazon pull tech support for rogue social app
  • Downloads had surged after president was kicked off Twitter
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Parler Ban Shows Power of Big Tech Over Web Conversation
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As Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. banished users and groups supporting the violent mobs at the U.S. Capitol last week -- including President Donald Trump himself -- downloads surged for a less restrictive social media app called Parler. But in an effort to prevent further riot organizing, Google Inc. and Apple Inc. booted Parler from their app stores, and Amazon.com Inc. shut off its web services.

“We will not cave to pressure from anti-competitive actors!” John Matze, Parler Inc.’s chief executive officer, said on his site Friday. “We WON’T cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech!”

In reality, Matze doesn’t have much choice. His free-speech-centric network, where some extremists turned to rally insurgents and organize future uprisings, was deemed an “ongoing and urgent public safety threat” by Google. Apple quickly rejected as insufficient a Parler plan to moderate its content. Amazon employees asked that the web giant “deny Parler services until it removes posts inciting violence, including at the Presidential inauguration.”