Apple has removed Parler from its App Store, alleging that the social media platform has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of content that encourages illegal activity.
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In the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, Apple has removed Parler—an alternative social media platform popular with conservatives—from its App Store. The move comes after days of pressure on the tech giant to take action against the app, which was used to coordinate the riot.
In a statement to The Verge, an Apple spokesperson said that Parler had violated its guidelines by failing to moderate “threatening or hateful” content. “We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place for threats of violence and illegal activity,” the spokesperson said. “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety. We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues.”
The decision is a major blow to Parler, which has billed itself as a “free speech” platform and has been embraced by many conservatives who feel that they are being censored on other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. It is unclear how long Parler will be suspended from the App Store, but it is possible that the app could be permanently removed if it does not take steps to address Apple’s concerns.
What is Parler?
Parler is a social networking app that bills itself as an alternative to “mainstream” platforms like Twitter and Facebook. The app, which was launched in 2018, has been popular with conservatives and right-wing extremists. Parler has been accused of being a haven for conspiracy theorists, hate speech, and misinformation.
On January 9th, 2021, Apple removed Parler from its App Store, saying that the app had failed to moderate “egregious content” and had not taken adequate measures to prevent the spread of false information. This came after two days of riots at the US Capitol building that were egged on by President Donald Trump and other right-wing figures who used social media to spread false claims about election fraud.
Parler CEO John Matze said in a statement that Apple’s decision was “a threat to freedom of expression,” and vowed to work around the ban by releasing a web-based version of the app.
Why Was Parler Kicked Off the App Store?
Apple removed Parler from the App Store on Saturday, January 9th, 2021. The decision came after days of turmoil and violence at the US Capitol that left five people dead. In a statement, Apple said that Parler had not taken adequate measures to moderate and remove harmful or hateful content from its platform.
This is not the first time that Apple has removed an app from its store for failing to moderate content. In 2017, Apple removed the messaging app Telegram after it was found to be used by extremists to plan attacks in Russia. Similarly, in 2015, Apple removed the Civil War game “Confederate Reckoning” after complaints that it glorified the Confederacy.
It is unclear if Parler will be allowed back on the App Store in the future. For now, users who have already downloaded the app will still be able to use it.
Apple has removed Parler from the App Store, citing the social media platform’s failure to moderate “egregious content” in the wake of last week’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
In a statement, Apple said it gave Parler 24 hours to submit a detailed moderation plan after determining that the platform was used to “plan and facilitate” illegal activity in the lead-up to last Wednesday’s siege.
“We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place for threats of violence and illegal activity,” Apple said. “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety.”
Parler CEO John Matze responded to Apple’s decision in a statement, saying that his company is “being censored by Big Tech for speaking truth and opposing violent rhetoric.”
“We will not cave to pressure from anti-competitive actors,” Matze said. “We find a way to continue operating Parler despite Apple’s actions.”
What This Means for the Future of Social Media
The move by Apple is likely to have a chilling effect on social media companies that moderate content, as it send a strong message that they will be held responsible for the actions of their users. This could lead to more self-censorship by these companies, as they attempt to avoid being removed from major app stores.
It also raises the question of whether other large tech companies will follow suit. So far, Google has not taken any action against Parler, but it is under pressure to do so. If Google also removes Parler from its Play Store, it would dealt a significant blow to the company.
The future of Parler is uncertain at this point, but the company has said that it is working on a new version of its app that will be compliant with Apple’s App Store guidelines. It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to get the app reinstated.