With Parler’s existence, his attorney began with a surprise admission to a Seattle federal judge that he wasn’t on social media and was trying to get up to speed on the technology.
From then on, Attorney David J. Groesbeck’s mission to quickly revive the site went downhill just days after Amazon.com Inc pulled the plug on its web hosting service fearing that the conservative alternative to Twitter was full of violent content is.
At the end of a brief hearing on Thursday, Groesbeck agreed with U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein’s propensity to take slower legal action – even after the attorney argued that the ad-supported website remains alive with frozen revenues.
Parler’s antitrust and infringement complaint alleges that Amazon Web Services’ refusal to host the website is a politically charged attack on an upstart’s efforts to survive in the social media space.
The lawsuit takes place amid long-standing battles between President Donald Trump and platforms like Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc, which thrived on his populist messages but have also been heavily criticized for empowering him by spreading falsehoods widely. Many Trump supporters have moved to Parler to avoid what they see as censorship by Twitter.
Groesbeck told the judge that only AWS would have access to the content, which would reveal if there is evidence to support his claim that the platform was used to spark the January 6 riot at the Capitol, as Parler is now dark.
“Parler can’t even look up the data to see what was there,” he said. “You are holding the key that my customer cannot get.”
While Groesbeck put forward his arguments about the technology in sometimes stopping sentences, the attorney from Amazon shot back with sharp volleys.
“Rape, murder and torture,” said Ambika K. Doran when she listed topics in Parler-Chatter around Jan. 6 that she described as “the tip of the iceberg” for violent content on the site.
After Trump was banned from Twitter on Jan. 8, the news traffic on Parler was so heavy that the website was unavailable for seven hours, according to a separate court file. Parler then faced a backlog of 26,000 pieces of content likely to lead to violence and said it was possible to remove all but about 1,000 problematic posts.
Doran told the judge that the escalation of violent content on Parler has reached the point where criminal prosecutors are now citing posts against users of the site. Engaging AWS to restore Parler’s service would be “pointless” as the platform has shown that it is “unwilling and unable” to control its content, she argued.
When Groesbeck said Parler had no other options to get back online, Dolan parried that it wasn’t clear how hard the site had tried.
“There are many alternatives that they haven’t addressed,” she said.
Rothstein repeatedly urged Groesbeck to explain the emergency that warranted an immediate court order and why she shouldn’t go through a lengthy, more deliberate process in order to reach a permanent resolution of Parler’s dispute with Amazon. The lawyer eventually admitted that the slower approach is the “better way”. – Bloomberg