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Parler loses bid to require Amazon to reinstate its account

The social media platform says it will press on with its claims that Amazon Web Services violated antitrust law.

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Amazon doesn't have to reinstate cloud hosting services for Parler, a judge ruled Thursday in a Seattle federal court. The ruling is a blow to Parler, a social media platform popular with right-wing extremists, which went offline earlier this month when Amazon Web Services suspended its account. Amazon said it took the action because Parler wasn't moderating posts from users advocating violence. The site has since returned online in a limited form.

The ruling Thursday rejected the social media company's request that the judge order Amazon to reinstate its services to Parler. Amazon said in a previous court filing that there was no legal precedent for a court to order a company to host content that promoted violence.

Parler's request was part of a larger lawsuit alleging that Amazon violated contract and antitrust law by withdrawing its services in the aftermath of a pro-Donald Trump mob storming the US Capitol on Jan. 6. The judge didn't dismiss the case entirely Thursday, but in her written order she cast cold water on Parler's allegations. Parler has "failed to demonstrate that it's likely to prevail on the merits of any of its three claims," Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein wrote in her ruling.

In a statement, Parler said it was "disappointed" by the order. The company also noted the lawsuit is in its early stages, adding, "We remain confident that we will ultimately prevail in the main case." 

Amazon said in a statement that it "welcomed" the ruling. "This was not a case about free speech," the company said. "It was about a customer that consistently violated our terms of service by allowing content to be published on their website that actively encouraged violence (and without an effective plan to moderate it)."

As the lawsuit continues, both companies will have a chance to collect additional evidence from each other to bolster their arguments.