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Home / Business / The technology industry uses “nuclear options” to suppress violent groups organized online

The technology industry uses “nuclear options” to suppress violent groups organized online



Google cited weak content management policies and removed the highly popular alternative social networking site Parler from its App Store on Friday after a fatal riot in the Capitol last week. The next day, Apple followed suit and pointed out the same reason. Then came the biggest blow: Amazon removed Parler from its cloud hosting service Amazon Web Services, effectively making it homeless on the Internet.

Okta, which provides back-end business services, and Zendesk reportedly both said that they stopped working with Parler on Sunday.

Although it has become a social network (e.g. Facebook (FB) with Twitter (TWTR) In order to conduct some content review, few companies supporting the Internet have taken similar actions. Companies that provide everything from virtual hosting services and domain registration to cloud computing technology are still largely regarded as neutral.

Katie Fallow, a senior attorney for the Knight’s First Amendment at Columbia University, said: “This is a nuclear option.” Fallow said that technology companies have taken such strong actions, including a ban on Trump’s account, in response to Congress. “Special circumstances”

; of building violence.

Parler may have disappeared temporarily.That won’t stop calls for online violence

For example, Amazon stated that it took action because it saw the “steady growth” of violent content on the Parler platform, which violated the AWS terms of service. However, the fact that these companies have taken such drastic measures raises some potential concerns.

Daphne Keller, Director of Platform Regulation at Stanford University’s Cyber ​​Policy Center, said: “I think this is a shift from Silicon Valley’s fight against many other violent groups in the world (such as Islamic extremists) to white family extremists.” But she Said: “When you shut down the entire platform, it will affect all its users, including users who may not violate the law or Amazon policies. When a service provider like AWS cancels an entire service.”

Keller added that when Internet infrastructure providers began to conduct content audits, it was disturbing because “they were not in large numbers.” As a result, she said: “The consequences of losing Internet infrastructure are much more serious. Especially if it means that you are not actually on the Internet at all.”

In response to this repression, Parler sued Amazon on Monday, accusing it of violating antitrust laws, breaching contracts and interfering with the company’s business relationships with users. The complaint stated: “Without AWS, Parler would not be able to complete it because it can’t access the Internet.” The complaint also claimed: “Parler deleted everything that AWS attracted attention, and more.

Amazon said in a statement that the lawsuit has no basis. The company said, “Parler has known their concerns for several weeks. During this time, we have seen a significant increase in the number of such hazardous materials, rather than a decrease, which led to our suspension on Sunday night. service.”

Although it is not common for back-end services to take this step, it is not unheard of. In 2017, Internet domain name provider GoDaddy kicked off the neo-Nazis The website published a derogatory story about a woman who was killed at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. 8chan is an Internet message board, known as the home of racist and misogynistic content. It went offline in 2019 after the Internet infrastructure company Cloudflare launched it. The message board finally found another host and was back online.

According to reports, the suspicious shooter behind the Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre in 2018 had personal information on the app and expressed strong anti-Semitism views. Gab was banned from the app stores of Apple and Google and various payment processors. use. (At the time, Gab stated that it had been unfairly “smeared” and “attacked” for defending freedom of speech.) It boasted that it had built most of the infrastructure it currently operates, theoretically not subject to any circumstances. influences. To Parler.

Knight First’s Fallow said: “All of this raises a broader question, that control of billions of people’s voice is controlled by only a few companies, and what does that mean.” Amendment Institute.

From an ethical perspective, Fallow said, it’s easy to understand why companies want to sever ties with controversial services in dangerous situations. Real events associated with speeches on these platforms. “On the other hand, since it does affect speeches, I think we should consider it disturbing [if] The underlying service provider… makes these alternatives impossible. “

Internet experts believe that there may be more such actions in the future. Keller said, for example, Amazon took action to separate Parler from AWS, which set a precedent for itself.

She said: “Once you do it once, it is difficult to do it again.”


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