Apple finally lets Parler return to App Store following Republican letter

The social network vows to maintain 'our strict prohibition against content moderation based on viewpoint.'
Tue Apr 20, 2021 - 4:07 pm EST
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April 20, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Alternative social network Parler will be allowed to return to Apple’s App Store, months after being blacklisted for content moderation policies Apple claims it found inadequate.

Apple, Google, and Amazon blacklisted Parler in January, with Amazon forcing the entire site to go down until it managed to arrange an alternative web-hosting solution to replace Amazon Web Services. The moves were based on the internet companies’ claims that Parler took insufficient action to remove user comments that supposedly contributed to the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill.

The website returned with updated community guidelines Parler said were “designed to enable productive, polite discourse among people with differing interests, life experiences, and viewpoints,” but Apple said in March they didn’t go far enough.

On Monday, however, Apple announced that Parler will be returning to the App Store next week, in response to a letter on the subject by Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Ken Buck of Colorado, which said the companies’ actions “seem to lack any of the procedural fairness typically afforded in the case of an alleged breach of contract create the appearance of close coordination.”

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Without walking back its original decision, Apple claims that “substantial conversations with Parler in an effort to bring the Parler app into compliance” led to pledges on Parler’s end that finally meet with Apple’s approval.

“Parler has, and will always be, a free and open forum where users could engage in the free exchange of ideas in the full spirit of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution," Parler interim CEO Mark Meckler said of the development. "We have worked to put in place systems that will better detect unlawful speech and allow users to filter content undesirable to them, while maintaining our strict prohibition against content moderation based on viewpoint."

During the blacklisting, Apple users who already knew of or were interested in Parler could still access the social network on their iPhones or iPads via their preferred mobile web browser. But the blacklisting prevented the use of a version of the platform optimized for mobile devices, prevented potential newcomers from discovering it on their own while browsing the App Store, and stigmatizes the service despite the fact that more mainstream platforms were used far more by the so-called Capitol Hill “insurrectionists,” according to the federal government’s own charging documents.

  app store, apple, big tech, free speech, iphone, ken buck, mike lee, parler, social media censorship

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