SAN FRANCISCO – The conservative social network Parler was forced offline Monday, tracking websites showed, after Amazon warned the company would lose access to its servers for its failure to properly police violent content.
The site’s popularity soared in recent weeks, becoming the number one free app in Apple’s App Store after the much larger Twitter banned US President Trump from its platform for his role in inciting a riot at the US Capitol last week.
Messages of support for Wednesday’s attack in Washington DC — along with calls for new demonstrations — had flourished on the platform, leading Google to remove it from its app store on Friday, followed by Apple on Saturday.
Amazon then confirmed it would suspend the platform from its cloud hosting services for allowing “threats of violence.”
In a letter to the Parler’s owners, the web giant said it would suspend service by 11:59 PM on Sunday (0759 GMT Monday).
Tracking website Down For Everyone Or Just Me showed Parler offline just after midnight, suggesting its owners had not been able to find a new hosting partner.
In a series of posts on Parler on Saturday, CEO John Matze said the site would go down the following day, and accused the tech giants of a “war on free speech.”
“They will NOT win! We are the worlds last hope for free speech and free information,” he said.
Parler did not respond to a request for comment from AFP.
The social network, launched in 2018, operates much like Twitter, with profiles people can follow and “parleys” instead of tweets.
In its early days, the platform attracted a crowd of ultra-conservative or even extreme-right users.
But it now attracts many more traditional Republican voices.
Fox News star host Sean Hannity has 7.6 million followers, while his colleague Tucker Carlson has 4.4 million.
Elected officials present include Republicans Devin Nunes, a California congressman, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.
Trump is not known to have a Parler profile.
Parler’s recent growth was supercharged after last week’s violence in DC as new users, furious over Twitter’s ban on Trump, flocked to the app calling for fresh protests.
In one now-deleted post, an account purporting to belong to Lin Wood, a pro-Trump lawyer, called for Vice President Mike Pence to be put in front of a firing squad — threats which US media have reported led to a secret service investigation.