The sources claim that Amazon Web Services plans to adopt new definitions for content that would violate the company’s cloud services and web hosting policies.
The policies would put AWS in a position to identify and remove content that allegedly promotes violence—the same principle that has allowed Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other platforms to restrict conservative free speech.
Amazon Web Services said the report “is wrong,” adding that “AWS Trust & Safety has no plans to change its policies or processes, and the team has always existed.”
Reuters said it stands by its report.
The Reuters article claims that AWS wants to hire a new Trust & Safety team that will help outside researchers find and remove potential threats before they spread online.
Amazon currently controls 40 percent of the world’s cloud services, making them the single largest arbiter of information on the internet.
The anonymous sources said that the new AWS team will not sift through already existing content but will instead prevent potentially violent content from reaching the cloud in the future.
AWS said in a statement that it reserves the right to police content that uses its cloud services.
“AWS Trust & Safety works to protect AWS customers, partners, and internet users from bad actors attempting to use our services for abusive or illegal purposes,” the company said. “When AWS Trust & Safety is made aware of abusive or illegal behavior on AWS services, they act quickly to investigate and engage with customers to take appropriate actions.”
The potential escalation in so-called content moderation practices comes at the same time that President Joe Biden‘s administration is calling on Big Tech giants to clamp down on internet free speech.
Federalist reporter Joy Pullman notes that the crackdown at Amazon means bad news for Patreon and Substack, two free speech platforms that have become safe havens for conservatives who have been removed from mainstream websites.
AWS hosts “most of their data,” leaving them vulnerable to politically motivated deplatforming.
“These platforms bill themselves as a way for creators to be independent and cut out the middlemen,” Pullman wrote. “But when infrastructure services like web hosts and banks get political, it turns out these “independent sites” just replaced the middlemen with themselves.”