Apple has warned the right-wing social media platform Parler to create and implement a plan to moderate content or risk removing it from the App Store after violence was spread on the platform following riot attempts in the US Capitol.
Google has also banned Parler from its Play Store “in the face of this ongoing and urgent threat to public safety”.
In an email to Parler executives, Apple wrote, “We have received numerous complaints about objectionable content on your Parler service, allegations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate and facilitate illegal activity” in Washington DC .
“The app will apparently continue to be used to plan and facilitate further illegal and dangerous activities,” the email said.
The Twitter- and Facebook-like, timeline-aligned app grew in popularity over the past year after right-wing, pro-Donald Trump personalities abandoned or banned other social media networks because of perceived censorship issues. The app has described itself as “unbiased social media that focuses on real user experiences and engagement” and enables “free expression without violence and without censorship”.
In recent months, violent political threats, conspiracies, and riot-related posts have increased across the app, especially in the days leading up to the violent siege of the Capitol on Wednesday. The app served as a general access point for QAnon conspiracies and news from the Proud Boys leadership.
On Friday morning, Apple gave Parler 24 hours to submit a content moderation plan that included several examples of incitement and incitement to violence that appeared with great interest on Parler accounts. The news was first reported by BuzzFeed News.
In a statement from Google, the company said: “We are aware of the continued posting on the Parler app, which is attempting to incite ongoing violence in the US. We understand that there can be a reasonable debate about content policies and that it can be difficult for apps to remove all infringing content. “
Later that day, Twitter finally suspended the president from its platform, “because of the risk of further incitement to violence,” the company announced.
Twitter users who migrated to Parler from the platform have urged the president to do the same. Several GOP congressmen use the app as well as White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
Apple said it disagreed with Parler CEO John Matze, who said in recent remarks that he “feels and shouldn’t be responsible for any of this, considering that we’re a neutral town square, who only obeys the law. “
“We want to make it clear that Parler is genuinely responsible for all user-generated content present on your service and for ensuring that that content meets App Store requirements for the safety and security of our users,” the company said. “We will not distribute any apps that contain dangerous or harmful content.”
According to Apple, Parler must remove all unwanted material from the app, including, but not limited to, several examples Apple provided.
The company included screenshots of posts calling for the assassination of Democratic elected officials and Vice President Mike Pence, as well as Twitter threads of Parler posts calling for retaliation and uprising on violence by Enrique Tarrio, leader of Proud Boys, Trump – Lawyer Lin Wood and anonymous telephoto were taken – Rights user.
According to Apple, distributing posts and similar content in the app violates two elements of its security policy.
The company said, “We have found that your app contains content that some users may find annoying, obnoxious, or otherwise objectionable. In particular, we found direct threats of violence and calls to encourage lawless behavior. … Your app allows the display of user-generated content, but does not have sufficient precautions to effectively manage unwanted content in your app. “
The independent has asked Apple for a comment.