May 19, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Alternative social network Parler officially returned to Apple’s App Store Monday, thanks to an agreement under which users of the mobile version will see less content than users of the website.
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. In April, Apple announced Parler would be returning following “substantial conversations with Parler in an effort to bring the Parler app into compliance” and pledges on Parler’s end that finally meet with Apple’s approval.
The Washington Examiner reports that under the new agreement, Parler’s new AI-based content moderation system will censor content Apple deems “hateful” on the iOS app for iPhones and iPads, but those same posts will remain visible on the website itself (including, presumably, to those who access the website on their Apple devices via a web browser).
“The entire Parler team has worked hard to address Apple’s concerns without compromising our core mission,” said Parler’s interim CEO, Mark Meckler, who is also resigning. “Anything allowed on the Parler network but not in the iOS app will remain accessible through our web-based and Android versions. This is a win-win for Parler, its users, and free speech.”
“The work I came to accomplish at Parler has been successfully completed and I am now excited to turn the reins over to George Farmer, who will lead the fight as Parler continues its growing role as the premier platform in the world for free speech, data privacy and constructive dialogue,” added Meckler, who is resuming is position as president of the conservative group Convention of States.
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 disabled 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 stigmatized 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.