As reported by cnet,
Amazon, Apple and Google have banned the Parler social networking app from their respective services and app stores in the wake of Wednesday’s. Parler since before the attack on the Capitol.
Parler’s CEO John Matze posted on his app late Saturday that Amazon had informed him it would no longer help to host his app on its Amazon Web Services platform. The move followed earlier announcements by Apple and Google would be pulling the app from their respective app stores as well.
“This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place,” Matze said in his post, claiming that his app had become “too successful too fast,” without discussing his platform’sor that extremists had used it to help plan the Capitol Hill riot. He also didn’t address increasing concerns social media apps including his were being used to organize another attack in the coming weeks as well. Amazon and Parler didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Apple, for its part said in a statement Saturday that Parler had failed to appropriately police content posted by users.
Apple has “always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” the company said in its statement. “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety. We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues.”
The App Store is the only way to distribute apps to iPhones, so banishment poses a serious challenge to online services. However, they often can still be reached through websites.
Apple’s move came after Google removed Parler’s Android app from its Play Store Friday, saying the social network remain banished until Parler improves moderation.
“We’re aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US,” Google said in a statement Friday. “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.”
Read more:Where does the fit in?
Google’s ban isn’t as impactful to Parler, though, because Google lets people “sideload” Android apps without going through its Play Store, if they choose. The ability is disabled by default, however.
Deplatforming a platform
Banning apps is an example of “deplatforming,” an attempt to curtail disinformation, racist remarks, incitements to violence and other problematic communications. The modern internet provides an abundance of platforms to directly communicate to millions of people, and it’s proved challenging to.
Parler’s CEO Matze had posted warnings his app may be removed from Amazon’s web services after a group of employees called on the company to act. “We cannot be complicit in more bloodshed and violent attacks on our democracy,” Amazon employees wrote in a tweet.
Less than a day later, the victory declared victory. “We demanded Amazon deplatform white supremacists using tech we work on as a bullhorn to incite violence and attack our democracy,” the group said.
In Apple’s case, the iPhone maker sent Parler a warning letter on Friday, according to Buzzfeed, demanding the app improve its moderation.
“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,” Apple reportedly said to Parler. “If we do not receive an update compliant with the App Store Review Guidelines and the requested moderation improvement plan in writing within 24 hours, your app will be removed from the App Store.”
In a follow-up letter Saturday to Parler’s developers, Apple said it was still seeing unacceptable content on Parler.
“In your response, you referenced that Parler has been taking this content ‘very seriously for weeks,'” Apple wrote. “However, the processes Parler has put in place to moderate or prevent the spread of dangerous and illegal content have proved insufficient. Specifically, we have continued to find direct threats of violence and calls to incite lawless action.”
And an apparent plan put forward by Parler didn’t satisfy Apple.
“Your response also references a moderation plan ‘for the time being,’ which does not meet the ongoing requirements” in the App Store’s guidelines, Apple wrote. “While there is no perfect system to prevent all dangerous or hateful user content, apps are required to have robust content moderation plans in place to proactively and effectively address these issues. A temporary ‘task force’ is not a sufficient response given the widespread proliferation of harmful content.”
Parler didn’t respond to a request for comment on Apple’s ban either.
In a Parler post on Friday, CEO Matze challenged Apple’s position and said Apple doesn’t hold Twitter or Facebook to the same standard. “Apparently they believe Parler is responsible for ALL user generated content on Parler,” he said. “By the same logic, Apple must be responsible for ALL actions taken by their phones. Every car bomb, every illegal cell phone conversation, every illegal crime committed on an iPhone, Apple must also be responsible for.”
Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment on Matze’s remarks.
Content crackdown on social media
The biggest example of deplatforming happened Friday when‘s account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
After the insurrection at the Capitol, which led to deaths, vandalism and property damage — not to mention the insult to a national and international symbol of democracy — social media sites have been taking a harder stance against activity they see as dangerous.“indefinitely.” , a major right-wing discussion forum, and associated with the right-wing, bogus QAnon conspiracy theory.
In a Friday tweet, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent New York Democrat, had called for Google and Apple to take action after reported calls for violence on Parler.
Parler’s growing importance
Parler is growing in importance to right-wing activists as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have put the kibosh on Trump’s social media accounts after loyalists stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.
“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,” Apple reportedly told Parler on Friday, citing a handful of examples purportedly showing violent threats. “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.”