Apple Threatens to Ban Parler From App Store as Twitter Bans Donald Trump
In an email sent to Parler this morning, Apple said that it had received complaints that the app had been used by supporters of President Donald Trump to plan and coordinate the infiltration of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Apple says that the Parler app violates objectionable content and user-generated content guidelines.
We require your immediate attention regarding serious App Store guideline violations that we have found with your app, Parler.
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. The app also appears to continue to be used to plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities.
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, found here: https://legal.parler.com/documents/Elaboration-on-Guidelines.pdf
Examples of these complaints can be viewed on these links:
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. 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.
Your CEO was quoted recently saying "But I don't feel responsible for any of this and neither should the platform, considering we're a neutral town square that just adheres to the law." We want to be clear that Parler is in fact responsible for all the user generated content present on your service and for ensuring that this content meets App Store requirements for the safety and protection of our users. We won't distribute apps that present dangerous and harmful content.
Apple is requiring Parler to submit an update and a "requested moderation improvement plan" within 24 hours from when the email was received on Friday morning. If Parler does not comply, the app will be pulled from the App Store.
Parler CEO John Matze said on the social network that Parler will not "cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech." Since launching in 2018, Parler has claimed to be a free speech alternative to mainstream social networks with more relaxed content moderation rules, which has attracted those who have been banned or suspended on Twitter, Facebook, and other mainstream social networks.
In related news, social network Twitter today announced that it has permanently suspended the Twitter account of U.S. President Donald Trump. Twitter said that the account was suspended because of the "risk of further incitement of violence."
After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.https://t.co/CBpE1I6j8Y — Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 8, 2021
Twitter yesterday suspended Trump's account for 12 hours after he posted a video calling rioters "very special" and repeating claims of election fraud.
Twitter said that the account would be unlocked if Trump deleted tweets, but warned that further violations would result in a permanent ban. Facebook and Instagram have also indefinitely banned Trump, and Google Play on Friday night removed the Parler app.
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