Apple CEO Tim Cook says Parler could return to App Store after 'moderation' in terms of service

WION Web Team
California, United States Published: Jan 18, 2021, 07.44 AM(IST)

Parler app Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Apple suspended all downloads of the Parler app following the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, citing postings on the platform that could incite further violence

Apple CEO Tim Cook said Sunday that social networking app Parler, which is popular among conservatives, could return to its App Store if it changes how it moderates posts on the platform.

Apple suspended all downloads of the Parler app following the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, citing postings on the platform that could incite further violence. Google and Amazon also cut ties with the company.

Cook justified suspending Parler, favored by supporters of President Donald Trump.

"We looked at the incitement to violence that was on there, and we don't consider that free speech and incitement to violence has an intersection," Cook said.

Why has Parler been taken offline?

The site effectively "went dark" after Amazon.com Inc suspended its web hosting service and will remain so unless it can find a replacement.

Suspensions by Apple Inc's App Store and Alphabet Inc's Google had already meant potential new users were unable to download the app.

The platforms said Parler was not doing enough to prevent the spread of posts inciting violence, following unrest at the US Capitol by Trump supporters last Wednesday after weeks of violent rhetoric on online sites.

Parler Chief Executive John Matze has said the company "does not condone or accept violence" on its platform. He has gone into hiding after receiving death threats.

According to Matze's lawyer, “Many Parler employees are suffering harassment, fear for their safety and that of their families, and in some cases have fled their home state to escape persecution.”

After Amazon.com Inc stopped hosting its business, effectively taking the upstart social media service offline, Parler is now fighting for survival.

Parler's policies ban certain types of content, including 'fighting words' or 'threats to harm' that include threats of violence against an individual or group, obscenity, and pornography. The guidelines advise users to "not purposefully share rumors about other users/people you know are false," but do not mention other policies against misinformation.

The chief executive of social media platform Parler, popular with American right-wing users but which virtually vanished after the US Capitol riot, posted a brief message on the company's website. Parler's app, however, remains offline.

"Hello world, is this thing on?," Matze asked in a message dated Saturday, posted above a note from the company saying the platform would be restored after challenges were resolved.

US right-wing social media users have flocked to Parler, along with other apps such as Telegram and social site Gab, citing the more aggressive policing of political comments on mainstream platforms such as Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc, which intensified after the January 6 Capitol riot.

Parler has had about 10.8 million installs globally from across the App Store and Google Play, 8.7 million of those from the United States, according to Sensor Tower data. In January, it said it has over 12 million registered users.

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