01.11.21 - Big tech has flexed their strength in the wake of last Wednesday’s tragic events in Washington DC where an angry mob stormed and occupied the United States Capitol building. Amazon Web Services has effectively kicked social media app Parler off of their cloud services hosting platform.
The new application has been viewed by many to be a breeding ground for content that is considered dangerous and potentially violent. Amazon cited a steady increase in violent content in their letter to Parler over the weekend. Apple and Google have also effectively removed Parler from their Application marketplaces.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticized the moves by Twitter & Facebook in it’s ban of the President as “problematic”. France’s Junior Minister for European Union Affairs has also echoed this stance. Clement Beaune said he was “shocked” to see a private company make such an important decision.
Unilateral moves by big tech raise questions. Beaune went further “This should be decided by citizens, not by a CEO,” he told Bloomberg TV on Monday. “There needs to be public regulation of big online platforms.” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire earlier said that the state should be responsible for regulations, rather than “the digital oligarchy,” and called big tech “one of the threats” to democracy.
Big tech has long avoided such debates by claiming to be content-neutral. But in the aftermath of the storming of the Capitol, it has become increasingly clear just how much power and responsibility these companies have over public debate.