As reported by engadget,
“Apparently they believe Parler is responsible for ALL user generated content on Parler,” Matze wrote in a response posted on Parler. “Therefor [sic] by the same logic, Apple must be responsible for ALL actions taken by their phones.”
Parler, which spiked in popularity following the November election as Twitter and Facebook cracked down on election misinformation, has been called out for its role in the violence in DC this week. Apple said in its letter that it had “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.”
UPDATE: The calls for violence over on Parler are getting much, much worse.
There are now open calls for the murder of police officers and planning for violence on January 20th
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) January 8, 2021
Users have also turned to the app in the days since the riot to make a disturbing and violent threats about future plans. Screenshots of individuals calling for “firing squads” and threatening an armed response to Joe Biden’s inauguration have been circulating on Twitter, along with calls for Apple and Google to ban the app from their platforms. (Notably, Twitter cited “plans for future armed protests” in its decision to permanently suspend Trump.)
When pressed by The New York Times this week, Matze — who in the past has decried the “censorship” from Twitter and Facebook — repeatedly insisted he hadn’t observed Parler users using the app for illegal purposes. “If people are breaking the law, violating our terms of service, or doing anything illegal, we would definitely get involved,” Matze said. “But if people are just trying to assemble or they’re trying to put together an event… there’s nothing particularly wrong about that.” Parler didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Google has yet to weigh in on the app’s status. As The Verge points out, both companies have pulled apps associated with the far right in the past. Chat app Gab was removed from Google Play for hate speech in 2017. And Apple booted Alex Jones’ InfoWars app in 2018 (Google removed the app last year for spreading coronavirus misinformation).