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Parler Users' Threats Spur Memo Urging AWS Data Center Staff To ‘Be Vigilant’

In a memo this week, employees at Amazon Web Services data centers were advised to remain vigilant in the wake of bomb threats posted on the website Parler.


"We all need to [be] vigilant during this time to keep one another and our facilities safe,” AWS Vice President of Infrastructure Chris Vonderhaar wrote in the memo, which was obtained by Business Insider. “If you see something, say something — no situation or concern is too small or insignificant."   

The threats were apparently related to AWS’ decision to block Parler, a social media site billed as a “free speech” alternative to Twitter and others, from using AWS' hosting services.  

Apple and Google also banned Parler from their app stores in the days following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, which was orchestrated in part through Parler and other social media sites. Five people died during or in the wake of the attack, and state capitols and other sites have been subject to threats in the days since.  

AWS cited a steady rise in violent content on Parler, and the risk that it could incite further violence, in its decision to ban the site from using its services, according to BuzzFeed

"It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service,” Amazon’s Trust and Safety Team wrote in an email. “AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we continue to respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow on its site. However, we cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others."

Parler has since sued AWS for canceling its hosting contract, alleging that the move was motivated by “political animus” and “apparently designed to reduce competition in the microblogging services market to the benefit of Twitter."

In a statement, Amazon responded that there is “no merit” to Parler’s claims. 

"It is clear that there is significant content on Parler that encourages and incites violence against others, and that Parler is unable or unwilling to promptly identify and remove this content," the company wrote.

In addition to the threats made against AWS data centers, Parler users allegedly posted threats to Amazon delivery drivers, executives and other facilities.