The social media platform Parler lost a bid for a court order to force Amazon to reinstate their website services.
Amazon banned Parler from their web host servers on Jan. 9 over what they claimed was a “steady increase” in “violent content” that was against their terms of service. Parler’s CEO John Matze accused the tech industry of colluding in order to squeeze competition out of the marketplace, and filed a lawsuit against Amazon days later.
Attorneys for Parler requested a preliminary injunction from the court and argued in part that Amazon was violating laws against monopoly in favor of Twitter, Parler’s competitor.
U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Rothstein said in her decision on Thursday that Parler had not proven that it was likely to succeed against Amazon, and was not entitled to an injunction that would return the website services to the platform.
“The likelihood of Parler prevailing on its claims is not a close call. Parler’s allegations at this time are both inaccurate and unsupported, and are disputed by evidence submitted by [Amazon],” said Rothstein.
Rothstein found the connection between Parler’s suspension and Twitter tenuous since Amazon doesn’t have the same relationship with Twitter as it does with Parler.
“Parler has failed to do more than raise the specter of preferential treatment of Twitter by [Amazon],” said Rothstein. “Parler and Twitter are not similarly situated, because [Amazon] does not provide online hosting services to Twitter.”
Rothstein also rejected the argument from Parler that reinstating their social media platform was in the public interest.
“The Court explicitly rejects any suggestion that the balance of equities or the public interest favors obligating [Amazon] to host the kind of abusive, violent content at issue in this case, particularly in light of the recent riots at the U.S. Capitol,” said Rothstein.
“That event was a tragic reminder that inflammatory rhetoric can — more swiftly and easily than many of us would have hoped — turn a lawful protest into a violent insurrection,” she added. “The Court rejects any suggestion that the public interest favors requiring [Amazon] to host the incendiary speech that the record shows some of Parler’s users have engaged in.”
Rothstein was nominated to the court by former President Jimmy Carter in 1979.
The ruling leaves the future of the social media platform in question, though Matze has promised that the service will return.