TL;DR: Google has pulled ‘free speech’ social network app Parler from the Play Store for failing to remove posts inciting violence, and Apple could do the same soon. In an email sent to the app’s developers, Apple has given Parler 24 hours to submit an update implementing a moderation plan. Failure to do so will result in Parler’s removal from the App Store, too.
Parler was launched in 2018 and has proved popular among right-wing conservative groups, who often accuse the likes of Twitter and Facebook of censoring their views. Twitter has been increasingly moderating its platform over the course of 2020, particularly in light of the U.S. election and the spread of misinformation around Covid-19.
As such, Parler, which describes itself as an unbiased social network, has rapidly gained users – including Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Fox News host Sean Hannity.
However, following the recent infiltration of the U.S. Capitol, Google has banned Parler from its Play Store for fostering calls to violence. Google is calling on Parler to implement moderation systems for egregious content and is suspending the app’s listings until it addresses these issues.
Unsurprisingly, Apple is following suit. In an email sent to Parler’s developers, Apple is giving the app 24 hours to implement a moderation plan, and said: “Our investigation has found that Parler is not effectively moderating and removing content that encourages illegal activity and poses a serious risk to the health and safety of users in direct violation of your own terms of service.”
Failure to do so will result in Parler’s removal from the App Store.