World

U.S. Internet provider blocks Facebook, Twitter

Mark Zuckerberg (Photo by jdlasica / Creative Commons)

IDAHO, U.S. – An internet service provider (ISP) in Idaho, Spokane, and Washington area has blocked Facebook and Twitter for its customers after some called in to complain about censorship on the platforms.

The ISP, Your T1 WIFI, confirmed that it will block Facebook and Twitter from its WIFI service for some customers starting Jan. 13, 2021, according to a report by KREM 2.

The move comes after Twitter permanently banned President Donald Trump from its platform, and Facebook locked the president out of his account “indefinitely.”

“It has come to our attention that Twitter and Facebook are engaged in censorship of our customers and information,” reads an email to Your T1 WIFI customers.

The ISP said they received calls from customers about Facebook and Twitter.

“We have the past couple days been fielding calls from customers voicing the concern that they do not want these sites allowed to be displayed on their internet feed to them and that they do not want their children to go to these sites,” the email continues.

The ISP said because there were too many customers asking for Facebook and Twitter to be blocked, they will block Facebook and Twitter for all customers unless they ask the company for access.

“There are too many people that have called for us to do one [customer] at a time so we will be blocking [Facebook and Twitter] and any other website that may also be censoring,” the email reads.

The company said that two-thirds of its customers asked for the sites to be blocked.

The ISP further said they don’t condone big tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter censoring users or “trying to exterminate the competition,” such as Parler.

“Our company does not believe a website or social networking site has the authority to censor what you see and post and hide information from you,” the email reads. “We have made this decision to block these two websites from being accessed from our network.”

“We also don’t condone what Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and Apple are doing either to Parler by trying to strong arm them into submission,” the email adds.

The ISP says they won’t block the websites for customers who don’t want them blocked.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) booted Parler off its web hosting service in January. Parler hit back by filing a lawsuit saying Amazon’s decision was “motivated by political animus.”

Parler’s lawsuit accuses Amazon of violating antitrust laws. The lawsuit says Amazon signed a multi-year deal with Twitter and Parler, which is a competitor to Twitter.

“When Twitter announced two evenings ago that it was permanently banning President Trump from its platform, conservative users began to flee Twitter en masse for Parler,” the suit reads. “The exodus was so large that the next day, yesterday, Parler became the number one free app downloaded from Apple’s App Store.”

The lawsuit went on to say that Amazon claimed they were booting Parler due to concerns it may “incite violence,” and yet one of Twitter’s top trends the same time was “Hang Mike Pence,” and Amazon “has no plans nor has it made any threats to suspend Twitter’s account.”

“Yet last evening, AWS announced that it would suspend Parler’s account,” the suit reads. “And it stated the reason for the suspension was that AWS was not confident Parler could properly police its platform regarding content that encourages or incites violence against others.”

“However, Friday night one of the top trending tweets on Twitter was ‘Hang Mike Pence.’ But AWS has no plans nor has it made any threats to suspend Twitter’s account,” the suit adds.

The lawsuit alleges that “AWS’s decision to effectively terminate Parler’s account is apparently motivated by political animus.”

“It is also apparently designed to reduce competition in the microblogging services market to the benefit of Twitter,” the suit reads. “Thus, AWS is violating Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act in combination with Defendant Twitter.”

Parler has become a popular alternative to Twitter – especially after Twitter banned President Trump. Following Twitter’s banning of the president, Google and Apple both banned Parler from their app stores — effectively excluding the app from Android and iPhone smartphones.