Amazon employees demand company drop Parler after Capitol riot

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, pictured on September 13, 2018.

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A group of Amazon corporate employees is calling on the company to stop providing cloud services to Parler, a social media app popular with Trump supporters.

In a tweet on Saturday, employee advocacy group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said Amazon Web Services should “deny Parler services until it removes posts inciting violence, including at the Presidential inauguration.” AWS provides cloud services to Parler that host its website.

By Saturday night, Amazon informed Parler it would no longer provide cloud services to the site, with the suspension taking effect on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. PT. The decision means that if Parler can’t locate a new cloud provider by Sunday night, the site will go offline for users.

Representatives from Amazon and Parler didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Amazon is the latest tech giant to cut ties with Parler in the wake of the deadly U.S. Capitol riot earlier this week. Google on Friday removed Parler from its app store for Android users, Google Play Store. BuzzFeed News reported on Friday that Apple has threatened to pull Parler from its App Store.

Parler, which launched in 2018, has emerged as a popular platform for President Trump’s allies in the last year by billing itself as a free speech alternative to mainstream social media services like Twitter and Facebook.

Screenshots of the Parler app viewed by CNBC show users posting references to firing squads, as well as calls to bring weapons to the presidential inauguration later this month. AWS’ acceptable use policy states that it prohibits customers from using its services “for any illegal, harmful, fraudulent, infringing or offensive use.”

Amazon has previously cut ties with customers who violated its rules. In 2019, Amazon pulled the plug on a fundraising site used by Gab, a social media site that caters to conservatives, after it violated Amazon’s policies on hateful content.

The employee group, AECJ, has had some success making its demands heard in the past. Last April, the group staged an “online walkout” in protest of the company’s labor practices. Additionally, the group is widely credited for influencing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ decision to announce a sweeping climate change plan, after the group pushed for change at the company’s 2019 shareholder meeting.

— CNBC’s Kif Leswing contributed to this report.

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