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Twitter, Amazon, Facebook face fallout from taking action against Trump, his supporters

Amazon, Twitter and other tech companies confronted fresh blowback on Monday for barring President Donald Trump and taking action against a wide array of websites that had glorified the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last week. 

Twitter's decision to remove Trump's account, citing the potential that his corrosive rhetoric might incite additional violence, precipitated a sharp drop in the company's shares, which fell by more than 6% by midday Monday. Twitter also braced for a potential protest outside its San Francisco headquarters, a demonstration that the president's supporters have sought to organize on pro-Trump forums in recent days.

Amazon, meanwhile, faced a new lawsuit from Parler, an alternative social network that had become a haven for Trump's backers. Amazon Web Services, which provides cloud computing services, suspended its relationship with Parler starting Monday in a move that removed it from the Web - prompting Parler to allege that Amazon had acted unlawfully.

(Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

The flurry of activity reflected the intensifying clash between Washington and Silicon Valley in the days since Trump's incendiary comments about the 2020 election helped spark a riot that forced the Capitol into lockdown and left five people dead.

Late Friday, Twitter barred Trump, citing two tweets including one that said he is not planning to attend President-elect Joseph Biden's inauguration. Facebook on Thursday said it was suspending Trump for at least two weeks. Sheryl Sandberg, the company's chief operating officer, said in an interview with Reuters that there are "no plans to lift" the ban.

Other tech giants have joined Twitter and Facebook in taking action against the president and his allies in recent days amid mounting political tensions in the United States - and growing fears about potential violence. That includes Parler, which Apple and Google removed from their app stores in a move that further constrained the right-leaning service's reach. Joining Amazon, the tech giants say Parler has not properly policed its platform for violent threats, an accusation Parler denies.

Trump responded to the Twitter ban with a statement late Friday promising to seek an alternate social network - or build one of his own - in an attempt to get around the vast digital blockade. Trump is expected to spend the final days of his presidency attacking Silicon Valley over allegations of censorship, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

 

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