AWS Data Center Staff on High Alert After Company Pulled Plug on Parler

“We all need to [be] vigilant during this time to keep one another and our facilities safe.”

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

January 13, 2021

2 Min Read
AWS Data Center Staff on High Alert After Company Pulled Plug on Parler
Chesnot/Getty Images

Management has warned Amazon data center staff to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity following a comment on Parler that suggested “someone with explosives training” could “pay a visit to some AWS data centers,” Business Insider reported. The comment was under a post about the cloud provider’s decision over the weekend to discontinue providing hosting services to the social network.

AWS also put on hold any big changes or updates to its services Monday and Tuesday, requiring any such changes to be approved by its top executives, Business Insider reported, citing screenshots of internal company messages it has obtained.

Chris Vonderhaar, AWS’s VP of infrastructure operations, sent an email to his team Saturday, asking the team to be “vigilant during this time to keep one another and our facilities safe,” according to Business Insider, which has obtained a copy of the email as well. “If you see something, say something — no situation or concern is too small or insignificant.”

AWS discontinued providing cloud services to Parler Sunday, telling the customer that it hadn’t done enough to moderate the content its users post. Calls for violence and hate speech posted on Parler was against Amazon’s terms of service, the company said, according to BuzzFeed:

“Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms,” AWS wrote in an email to Parler. “It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service.”

Amazon’s decision came after Apple and Google banned Parler from the App Store and Google Play, respectively. The app was banned because a lot of the planning for the attack on the US Capitol last week by an extremist right-wing mob took place on the social-media platform, whose pitch to users is that it will let them post types of content competitors like Facebook or Twitter usually take down.

The post suggesting a terrorist attack on AWS data centers was preserved via screenshot and posted to Twitter before Parler went dark.

Meanwhile, over on Parler they’re talking about blowing up AWS data centers

— John Paczkowski (@JohnPaczkowski) January 10, 2021

Parler CEO John Matze said in a post on Parler that the site would be “unavailable on the internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch.” That timeline may not be realistic, given how little appetite other cloud or hosting providers may have for associating their brand with Parler.

Parler sued Amazon Monday for allegedly cutting it off for political reasons.

Parler was offline as of Wednesday morning US Pacific Time.

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