Presenting itself as an alternative to Facebook and Twitter and a haven for free speech, the conservative app Parler was removed from major tech platforms in early January following the US Capitol riots. Parler was kicked off of Apple and Google’s app stores, as well as Amazon Web Services, which had been hosting the company’s product.
All three cited the presence of violent speech on Parler as a reason for removal; Parler later said that other vendors also cut ties with the company, effectively shutting the service down and making it inaccessible on the web. For several weeks, visitors to Parler’s website were greeted by a static page instead of a functioning social networking app. The app briefly came back online on February 15th, but it wasn’t long before Parler’s CEO was terminated by its board and the app went dark again.Now after nearly three months of back and forth, Apple has approved Parler’s return to the iOS app store following “improvements” the social media company made to better detect and moderate hate speech and incitement, according to a letter the company sent to Congress on Monday. The decision clears the way for the app popular with members of the far-right, to be downloaded once again on Apple devices.
In a letter addressed to Senator Mike Lee (Q-UT) and Rep. Ken Buck (Q-CO) that was obtained by CNN the company explained that since the app was removed from Apple’s platform in January for violations of its policies, Parler “has proposed updates to its app and the app’s content moderation practices.”
Just when I was allowing myself to believe @Apple’s & @tim_cook’s recent campaign push positioning themselves as a leader in a new era of business ethics—they cave to Parler, the app that built its brand ID around hate speech & sedition.
Find it in the App Store!
— Dean Wallace 🗳🗽 (@deanofdublin) April 19, 2021
“Apple anticipates that the updated Parler app will become available immediately upon Parler releasing it,” Apple’s letter to Lee and Buck said.
The two acted like it was all them, when Parler wouldn’t have been allowed back on the App Store without full compliance. Even so, Lee and Buck came out swinging on behalf of everyone who wants to have fewer restrictions put on their hate speech.
It’s time for Google and Amazon to follow Apple’s lead.
Stop the censorship. https://t.co/QgfW4keYFl
— Rep. Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) April 19, 2021
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) April 19, 2021
Twitter responded with the expected criticisms of Apple openly allowing hate speech to run unchecked on their platform.
Apple: "The users may have threatened to kill us all when we removed the app for having users who'd threaten to kill people constantly, but we could make some money off this so why not risk the lives of people killed due to what's fomented on Parler & add it back to the store?"
— Grae Hall (@HallGrae) April 19, 2021
Hey @Apple, why are you letting Parler back on App Store knowing full well they promote terrorism and are a white supremacist hub with ties to Russian money? That’s gross.
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) April 19, 2021
But some pointed out the usefulness of an app full of people who live on the fringe openly sharing anti-government information.
Post away most freely!
— #TuckFrump (@realTuckFrumper) April 19, 2021
Nobody is happier that Parler is back on the Apple Store than the FBI.
— Grant Stern is fully vaccinated (@grantstern) April 19, 2021