- Google banned the far-right social media app parler from its Play Store on Friday, citing "continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US."
- Apple issued a similar notice to Parler, but gave the app 24 hours to address the issue, BuzzFeed News reported earlier Friday.
- "We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6" Apple told Parler executives in an email, according to BuzzFeed News.
- Parler has become a haven for far-right activity and misinformation due to its lax stance on moderating content, and was apparently used by rioters on Wednesday to organize as they stormed the US Capitol.
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Google has removed the far-right social media app Parler from its Play Store for continuing to allow violence-inciting content in violation of the company's policies, a spokesperson told Business Insider.
"We're aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US. We recognize that there can be reasonable debate about content policies and that it can be difficult for apps to immediately remove all violative content, but for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content," the spokesperson said.
"In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app's listings from the Play Store until it addresses these issues."
Google said that its "longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like posts that incite violence," and that Parler was continuing to violate those rules despite multiple recent warnings.
Apple issued a similar warning to Parler over its alleged role in Wednesday's attempted insurrection, saying it may remove the app from its App Store if Parler doesn't implement a content moderation plan within 24 hours, BuzzFeed News reported Friday.
"We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property," Apple told Parler, according to BuzzFeed News, adding: "The app also appears to continue to be used to plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities."
Apple and Parler did not respond to requests for comment.
"We will not cave to pressure from anti-competitive actors! We will and always have enforced our rules against violence and illegal activity. But we WONT cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech!" Parler CEO John Matze said in a post on the social media site, according to BuzzFeed News.
Parler has risen to prominence in recent months as mainstream social media sites have faced increasing pressure to crack down on hate speech, misinformation, and calls for violence.
Following the US presidential election in November, Trump supporters flocked to alternative social networks, including Parler, to plan election protests after Facebook and other sites banned groups that pushed debunked conspiracies. From November 3 to November 9, Parler was downloaded around 530,000 times in the US, according to data from Apptopia.
As a pro-Trump mob violently seized the US Capitol building on Wednesday in an attack that left five dead, the armed rioters used Parler and other conservative-leaning social media apps to organize. Apptopia told Business Insider that Parler downloads spiked to around 323% of their average weekly volume from October.
"Hold your ground!!! Keep the ground you have gained. Do not relinquish what we have," wrote one Parler user, who went by the handle "Immortal Noble Beard" and identified himself as a Proud Boy.
Many chimed in with posts tagged #revolution, #fightback, #firingsquad, and #civilwar. Others spread rumors that Antifa was behind the mob.
"Content of this dangerous and harmful nature is not appropriate for the App Store. As you know from prior conversations with App Review, Apple requires apps with user generated content to effectively moderate to ensure objectionable, potentially harmful content is filtered out," Apple told Parler, according to BuzzFeed News, adding: "Content that threatens the well being of others or is intended to incite violence or other lawless acts has never been acceptable on the App Store."
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