Rep.Â Devin Nunes, R-Calif., called for a racketeering investigation on Sunday following Amazon, Apple and Googleâ€™s decisions to suspend the alternative social media platform ParlerÂ after Wednesday’s U.S. Capitol riot.
During anÂ interview on “Sunday Morning Futures,” Nunes said Amazon, Apple and Google’s suspension of Parler is “clearly a violation’” of antitrust, civil rights and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, which is a federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization.
Nunes argued that “there should be aÂ racketeering investigation onÂ all the people that coordinatedÂ this attack on not only aÂ company, but on all of those likeÂ us.
“IÂ have 3 million followers onÂ Parler,” he added.Â “Tonight I will no longer be ableÂ to communicate with those peopleÂ and theyâ€™re Americans.”
The DOJ and the FBI did not immediately respond to Fox Newsâ€™ request for comment.
Nunes made the comments on Sunday hours before Amazon was reportedly planning to suspend Parler from its Amazon Web Services (AWS) unitÂ in a move that takes the site offline, unless it finds another hosting service.
Amazon says the move was made forÂ violating AWS’s terms of services by failing to effectively deal with a steady increase in violent content, according to an email by an AWS Trust and Safety team to Parler, reportedÂ by Reuters.
AWS was planningÂ to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, at 11:59 p.m. PST, according to the email. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the letter was authentic.
Amazon Web Services’ acceptable-use policy bars customers from using its services for “illegal, harmful or offensive” content.Â An Amazon representative declined to comment.
Parler is facing criticism over Wednesdayâ€™s riot, whichÂ saw supporters of President Trump storm into the U.S. Capitol, attack police, vandalize the building and steal items from inside.
Screenshots taken from Parler and shared on other social media platforms appear to show Parler users openly discussing plans for violence at the rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol, including bringing weapons and imagining how they would wield them against their political opponents.
Google and Apple haveÂ already suspended the Parler appÂ from their respective app marketplaces, with a requirement that the platform improveÂ its moderation.
“Weâ€™re aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the U.S.,” a Google spokesperson told Fox News.
“Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to peopleâ€™s safety,”Â Apple told Fox News.
“The effect of this is thatÂ there is no longer a free andÂ open social media company orÂ site for any American to get onÂ any longer,” Nunes said on Sunday.
He went on to say that Apple, Amazon and Google “just destroyed” Parler.
“Republicans have no wayÂ to communicate,” Nunes said, adding thatÂ “it doesnâ€™t even matter if youâ€™reÂ Republican or conservative.”
He stressed that there is no social media platform left for those who “donâ€™t want to be regulatedÂ by left-wingers that are at Twitter and Facebook and Instagram,Â where you get shadow banned, nobody gets to see you, they get to decide whatâ€™sÂ violent and not violent.”
“Itâ€™s preposterous,” Nunes stressed.
Amazon, Apple and Google’s suspension of Parler comes after Twitterâ€™s Friday decision to ban President Trumpâ€™s personal account after theÂ mob of his loyalists stormed the U.S. Capitol, resulting in several deaths. The tech company accused Trump of inciting the violence.
In a statement on Thursday, Facebook founderÂ Mark Zuckerberg announced that the block placed on Trumpâ€™s Facebook and Instagram accounts will be extended “indefinitely,” saying “we believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”
Facebook owns the Instagram platform.
Bartiromo said on Sunday that “all of these moves certainlyÂ feel likeÂ Communist China, whereÂ there is this crackdown on freeÂ speech.”
She then asked Nunes what he plans to do about it as an elected official.
In response, Nunes noted that the “hypocrisy” of Big Tech suspending Trump and Parler “knows noÂ bounds.”
He pointed to “Hang Mike Pence” trending on Twitter on Friday night, with about 14,000 tweets after the social media platform banned Trump “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” according to reports.
“I think thatâ€™s violence,” Nunes said on Sunday,Â referring to PenceÂ trending on Twitter. “Is Apple deleting the TwitterÂ app from the app store? Hell no.
“These CEOs that are doing this should be prosecuted criminally,” Nunes added.
“I’ve been talking to many of myÂ colleagues, Republicans on the HouseÂ side and a couple senators,” he continued. “Weâ€™re going to look for legalÂ options, do we have any legal options? Do we have our FirstÂ Amendment rights? Are they beingÂ violated?”
He went on to say that he believes “federal judgesÂ have got to step in.”
“Legislatively, you have toÂ understand, this is not aboutÂ Big Tech and that theyâ€™re just inÂ Silicon Valley and theyâ€™re just trying toÂ make money, no theyâ€™re working for theÂ Democratic socialist party,” Nunes said. “Theyâ€™re being cheered on byÂ this.Â They are state-run media andÂ really itâ€™s the communicationÂ system.
“Thatâ€™s howÂ people are receiving theirÂ information is through this funnelÂ of very few companies that areÂ being controlled by the DemocratÂ socialist party,” Nunes added.
Twitter appeared to notice the “Hang Mike Pence” trend at some point: on the Twitter Trending USA site, which tracks the past 12 hours of the top 10 trending topics, the item does not appear.Â
“We blocked the phrase and other variations of it from trending,” a Twitter spokesperson told Fox News on Saturday. “We want trends to promote healthy discussions on Twitter.”
Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter did not immediately respond to Fox Newsâ€™ request for comment regarding Nunesâ€™ claim that the companies “areÂ being controlled by the DemocratÂ socialist party.”
Immediately before Nunes appeared on “Sunday Morning Futures,” Parler CEO John Matze said on the program that what is happening is “extremely scary” and that it seems like the Big Tech moves are an effort to “stifle free speech and competition in the marketplace.”
Parler will likely go offline for “a while” Sunday evening given AWSâ€™ decision to suspend the social media platform.
Matze told “Sunday Morning Futures” that the site will try to “get back online as quickly as possible,” after writing on the platform that the site may be down for up to a week.
Fox Businessâ€™ James Leggate and Fox Newsâ€™ Peter Aitken contributed to this report.
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