Parler sues Amazon again, alleging effort to 'destroy' app


FILE PHOTO: A screengrab of Parler.com website and Parler CEO John Matze's message on January 16, 2021, reading "Hello world, is this thing on?", seen in this picture obtained on January 17, 2021 from social media. PARLER.COM WEBSITE/via REUTERS/File Photo

(Reuters) - Parler, a social media app popular among right-wing groups, filed a new lawsuit accusing Amazon.com Inc of trying to destroy its business following the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

The lawsuit seeking a variety of damages, including triple damages for anticompetitive conduct, was filed in Washington state court on Tuesday, two weeks after Parler returned online following a monthlong absence.

Parler went dark when Amazon suspended its web-hosting services following the Capitol attack, saying Parler had failed to effectively moderate violent content on its website.

The new lawsuit came as Parler voluntarily dismissed a federal lawsuit against Amazon over that suspension on Tuesday, the deadline to file an amended complaint.

Parler's new lawsuit accused Amazon of a slew of contractual violations, and like the original case said Amazon shut it down to benefit a new client, Twitter Inc.

The app said it was worth $1 billion and about to seek funding when Seattle-based Amazon pulled the plug, costing it tens of millions of users and hundreds of millions of dollars of annual ad revenue.

"When companies are this big, it's easy to be a bully," Parler said, calling itself "a victim of Amazon's efforts to destroy an up-and-coming technology company through deceptive, defamatory, anticompetitive, and bad faith conduct."

An Amazon spokesman said the new claims have no merit, and that it "provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum."

Parler has said there was a lack of evidence it helped incite the Capitol riot, but the judge in the federal case on Jan. 21 refused to order Amazon to resume services.

The relaunch effectively mooted Parler's claim that Amazon put it out of business.

Parler has said its new platform was built on "sustainable, independent technology."

SkySilk, a Los Angeles-based company, said it was providing private cloud infrastructure.

Google also removed the Parler app from its Play Store and Apple removed it from its App Store.

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru, and Elizabeth Culliford and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Shailesh Kuber, Aurora Ellis, Arun Koyyur and David Gregorio)

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