In a flurry of activity Friday night, various platforms cracked down on US President Donald Trump. Twitter suspended Trump’s account and shortly thereafter, both Apple and Google took positions against another social media platform called Parler.
For those unfamiliar with Parler, it is a social network known for its lax moderation and used by conservatives and extremists. Apple threatened to remove Parler from the App Store unless he submitted a “moderation improvement plan within 24 hours.” Additionally, Apple cited allegations that Trump supporters used Parler in planning the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol.
Google followed suit, removing Parler from the Play Store. The company said Parler would remain suspended until it implemented a moderation plan.
According to BuzzFeed News, Apple sent an email to Parler executives noting that it “received numerous complaints about objectionable content” posted on Parler. Apple cited allegations that Parler was used to coordinate the January 6 attacks and that the app “appears to continue to be used to plan and facilitate even more illegal and dangerous activities.”
“Our investigation has found that Parler is not moderating and removing content that encourages illegal activity and poses a serious risk to the health and safety of users in direct violation of its own terms of service,” Apple said in the email.
Equally, The edge obtained a statement from Google regarding Parler’s suspension, which you can read in full below:
“To protect user safety on Google Play, our long-standing policies require that applications displaying user-generated content have moderation and application policies that remove egregious content such as posts that incite violence. All developers agree to these terms and we have reminded Parler of this clear policy in recent months. We are aware of the continued posting on the Parler app that seeks to incite continued violence in the US We acknowledge that there may be reasonable discussion of content policies and that it may be difficult for apps to immediately remove all infringing content, But for us to be able to distribute an app via Google Play, we do require the apps to put in place strong moderation for heinous content. In light of this current and urgent public safety threat, we will suspend the app’s listings on the Play Store until these issues are fixed. “
The actions of Apple and Google are likely only making accessing Parler a little less convenient. The platform still exists as a website, and instructions detailing how to add the Parler site to your smartphone’s home screen are already circulating online. Additionally, Parler CEO John Matze posted messages stating that the platform already offers enough moderation and will not change to appease Apple or Google. Despite Matze’s claims, extreme content and calls for more violence are rampant on the platform.