Parler Users Sue Amazon Web Services Over Social Media Platform Suspension

On Tuesday, Parler users filed a class-action complaint against Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) in the District of Colorado over Parler’s suspension from the defendant’s cloud services.  This occurred one day after Parler sued AWS over the same suspension.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs and putative class “were subscribers and users of the social media application Parler when AWS suspended Parler’s account effective January 10, 2021 at 11:59 PM PST.” The plaintiffs claimed that all Parler users and subscribers signed a contract with Parler, the User Agreement, “that sets forth and governs the legal relationship, access to services and products, and terms of use between Parler and its subscribers and users.” 

The putative class reiterated allegations in Parler’s complaint, namely, Parler’s relationship with AWS, their contract, and the suspension timeline. For example, the plaintiffs pointed to AWS’s claim that it suspended Parler because it “was not confident that Parler could properly police its platform regarding content that encourages or incites violence against others,” and related it to Parler’s claim that on Jan. 8, 2021, a trending Tweet on Parler’s competitor Twitter contained a violent threat, but “it appears that AWS took no action against Twitter, has any plans to take action, nor has made any threats to suspend Twitter’s account.” In response, the plaintiffs stated that they and “the overwhelming majority of Parler subscribers and users, are decent, law-abiding human beings who have complied with the terms of the Parler User Agreement and have not engaged in any types of offensive, violent, or hate speech of any kind.”

The Parler users proffered that when AWS suspended Parler’s account, it “intentionally interfered with the contractual relationship between Parler and its subscribers and users and effectively denied Plaintiffs access to the products and services provided by Parler pursuant to the User Agreement between Parler and the Plaintiffs.” Moreover, the users claimed that by suspending Parler’s account, AWS has left the users “unable to engage in legal, protected, and private communications with each other through the Parler application or view any content that had been posted and that resided exclusively within the Parler application.” Furthermore, the plaintiffs claimed that during this tumultuous time, especially considering the “intense public sentiment” around the 2020 election outcomes and the current political landscape, AWS’s conduct “could not have been taken at a worse time, and by all appearances, was motivated by political animus.” The plaintiffs argued this caused Parler users to have a “highly unpleasant mental reaction,” as well as “inconvenience, and/or severe emotional distress,” to the app becoming unusable. 

The nationwide Parler subscriber/user class encompasses “All persons in the United States who were subscribers/users of the Parler social media application as of January 10, 2021 at 11:59 PM PST.” Alternatively, the statewide classes encompass “All persons in each State who were subscribers/users of the Parler social media application as of January 10, 2021 at 11:59 PM PST.”  

The plaintiffs asked for injunctive relief, and filed claims of intentional interference with contractual obligations and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiffs have sought a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunctive relief, and an award for damages.

The plaintiffs are represented by Irwin Fraley, PLLC and Boesen Law, LLC.