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Breaking down if Big Tech's Parler takedown raises an antitrust issue

Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss if the big tech companies restricting Trump or Parler accounts is an antitrust issue.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: We want to turn our attention to broaden this out and bring in Dan Howley, who covers tech for us, because for instance, Twitter announcing it has eliminated or blocked 70,000 QAnon feeds, which perpetuate lies and conspiracy theories. But there's much more at play-- the move by Amazon to block Parler, and whether there's an antitrust validity suit here for Parler. What have you got for us, Dan?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, Parler is basically a kind of a right-wing led competitor to the likes of Twitter or Facebook. As President Trump was deplatformed from Twitter-- had his account suspended permanently and was stopped from circumventing that ban-- people started to move off of Twitter and onto Parler.

And essentially, when Amazon had seen some of the calls for incitement for violence that were going on on Parler, they said that they were going to no longer provide services that their Amazon Web Services offers. And Amazon Web Services serves as a backbone for many websites and apps around the world. And so if they pull that, it means that Parler is effectively off the internet right now. And that is true. It's also worth noting that Apple and Google pulled the app from their respective app stores because of the same reason.

Now, when you have this kind of conversation ongoing, what happened with Parler-- filed a suit seeking an injunction to stop Amazon from pulling away the Amazon Web Services capabilities. They claim that this is basically a part of political animus and that Amazon is working with Twitter to ensure that Parler can't succeed. The reasoning behind that is shaky at best-- basically, that Twitter users AWS, and so it behooves Amazon to allow Twitter to thrive. But it would also make sense then for them to allow Parler to thrive, if that's your line of thinking.

Experts we've spoken to have said that the antitrust claim in this is very shaky and doesn't have any legs and likely won't result in any kind of action against Amazon. It really does seem to be kind of a last-ditch effort to try to keep Parler online. It's also worth noting, though, that many organizations that have been taken offline have managed to find hosting services elsewhere.

ADAM SHAPIRO: All right. This is something that a lot of people are paying attention to, because it has ramifications beyond the inauguration next week. Dan Howley, thank you very much. And you can read, by the way, Dan and Alexis Keenan's coverage of this on the YahooFinance.com page.