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Apple Removes Parler From App Store, Amazon Web Services Shuts Down Parler Website

Apple Removes Parler From App Store, Amazon Web Services Shuts Down Parler Website

Apple on Sunday confirmed that it has removed the Parler app from its App Store, saying the social network has failed to take “adequate measures to address the proliferation” of “threats to people’s safety.”

The Cupertino firm said there is “no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” and said that the app will remain unavailable on the App Store until if and when these issues are resolved.

Apple’s full statement, shared by MacRumors:

We have 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. 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.

Apple’s first letter to Parler was sent on Friday morning. Apple told the social network that it had received “numerous complaints regarding objectionable content” within the app, and accusations that the Parler app was “used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021,” referring to the United States Capitol uprising.

Parler replied to Apple, saying that it has been taking harmful content “very seriously for weeks” and was planning to implement moderation efforts “for the time being.” However, that was not sufficient to assure Apple that steps were being taken to resolve the issue, resulting in the second letter, seen below, being sent to Parler.

To the developers of the Parler app,

Thank you for your response regarding dangerous and harmful content on Parler. We have determined that the measures you describe are inadequate to address the proliferation of dangerous and objectionable content on your app.

Parler has not upheld its commitment to moderate and remove harmful or dangerous content encouraging violence and illegal activity, and is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.

In your response, you referenced that Parler has been taking this content “very seriously for weeks.” 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 in violation of Guideline 1.1 – Safety – Objectionable Content.

Your response also references a moderation plan “for the time being,” which does not meet the ongoing requirements in Guideline 1.2 – Safety – User Generated content. 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.

For these reasons, your app will be removed from the App Store until we receive an update that is compliant with the App Store Review Guidelines and you have demonstrated your ability to effectively moderate and filter the dangerous and harmful content on your service.

Regards,
App Review Board

The Parler had remained available to users that already had the app installed on their device, at least until Parler web host Amazon Web Services suspended Parler’s account as of Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time. According to an email obtained by BuzzFeed News. “Amazon’s suspension of Parler’s account means that unless it can find another host, once the ban takes effect on Sunday Parler will go offline,” the report explains.

CNET reports:

Parler Chief Executive John Matze posted on his service late Saturday that Amazon had informed him it would no longer host his service on its Amazon Web Services platform

[…]

“This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the marketplace,” Matze wrote, adding that his service had become “too successful too fast.” He didn’t initially address his platform’s comparatively lax moderation rules or its use by extremists ahead of the Capitol Hill riot. He also didn’t mention increasing concerns that social media apps, including Parler, were being used to organize another attack in the coming weeks.

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