Apple Rejects Parler’s Request to Re-Enter the Apple App Store

Parler has hit another roadblock to being fully functional. Apple has rejected Parlers request to be re-instated in the Apple app store.

After the January 6th terrorist attack in the US, part of the fallout was that Parler got banned from both the Apple and Google app stores. That was quickly followed up by Amazon pulling their AWS services from the site which led to the initial downtime of the site in the first place.

The reasons for the initial banning were pretty much universal: vile racism and hate have no place on their services. They also don’t condone terrorist activity either. In fact, on the latter point, the FBI was, in fact, asked to investigate the ties between the terrorist attack and Parler.

Of course, more recently, Parler came back online after it says the platform is running on “independent technology“. Shortly after, the platform made a second attempt to sue Amazon, claiming, among other things, defamation. It seems that getting the right wing echo chamber back online has also renewed their efforts to mount a full comeback.

According to reports coming in more recently, Parler even went so far as to ask Apple to have their app re-instated into the Apple app store. The suggestion is that Parler is different now. It’s changed. They have this whole moderation thing figured out, so they want back in. In light of the more recent failed March 4 coup, it probably comes as no surprise that Apple said “no”. From The Hill:

“After having reviewed the new information, we do not believe these changes are sufficient to comply with App Store Review guidelines,” Apple wrote to Parler’s chief policy officer on Feb. 25, according to Bloomberg. “There is no place for hateful, racist, discriminatory content on the App Store.”

With the launch, the app introduced new community guidelines, but those were inadequate for the App Store’s regulations – namely because of “easily identifiable” disparaging terms and symbols on the platform.

“In fact, simple searches reveal highly objectionable content, including easily identified offensive uses of derogatory terms regarding race, religion and sexual orientation, as well as Nazi symbols,” Apple wrote to Parler in a letter, according to Bloomberg. “For these reasons your app cannot be returned to the App Store for distribution until it complies with the guidelines.”

Parler in a statement on Thursday said that it expects and hopes to keep working with Apple to return to the App Store.

“We’re optimistic that Apple will continue to differentiate itself from other ‘Big Tech’ companies by supporting its customers’ choice to ‘think different’—to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms of thought, speech, and association—while using Apple products,” it added.

With the response from Parler, it’s pretty easy to see that nothing has fundamentally changed. If Parler was actually trying to be a more responsible platform, you’d think the statement would read more along the lines of, ‘We are continuing to root out racist and violent material on our platform. The goal is to encourage inclusivity and diversity of voices and show that we are a platform for free speech regardless of ethnicity, political leaning, or personal opinion.’ That would at least signal they are willing to change whether or not that statement could be believed.

The comments that actually came from Parler shows that they are not even willing to hide what the platform really stands for. Essentially, that being free to be a vile racist is simply “thinking differently” and supporting that kind of rhetoric is simply supporting free speech. That’s the signals we personally get from that response.

So, in that regard, Apple’s job was made really easy. Did Apple want the app that is accused of promoting racism and white supremacy to return to their app store? Apparently not. So, Apple basically told Parler to pound sand. Really, what reasonable person would disagree with that, anyway? To be honest, Apple’s decision isn’t even surprising either.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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