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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Parler denied re-entry on Apple’s App Store after Capitol Riot review

Parler, the controversial conservative social media app, was denied re-entry to Apple Inc.’s App Store recently after it was kicked off the platform in the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot

By: Bloomberg |
March 12, 2021 3:01:07 pm
Parler, Parler CEO John Matze, John Matze on Parler, Parler social media, Indian ExpressThe logo of the social media platform Parler is displayed in Berlin, Jan. 10, 2021. (Christophe Gateau/dpa via AP)

Parler, the controversial conservative social media app, was denied re-entry to Apple Inc.’s App Store recently after it was kicked off the platform in the wake of the January 6 Capitol riot, documents obtained by Bloomberg show.

On Wednesday, Parler LLC cut its three remaining iOS developers, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company eliminated seven workers in total, most of whom were contractors. The other staff worked on Parler TV and quality assurance, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters.

When it initially removed Parler from the App Store in January, Apple asked the social network to change its moderation practices. Apple said that Parler’s new community guidelines, released when the service came back online Feb. 15, were insufficient to comply with the App Store rules.

“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. “There is no place for hateful, racist, discriminatory content on the App Store.”

Apple included several screenshots to support the rejection. Some screenshots, reviewed by Bloomberg, show user profile pictures with swastikas and other white nationalist imagery, and user names and posts that are misogynistic, homophobic and racist.

“As you know, developers are required to implement robust moderation capabilities to proactively identify, prevent and filter this objectionable content to protect the health and safety of users,” Apple added in its letter to Parler, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg.

“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 “For these reasons your app cannot be returned to the App Store for distribution until it complies with the guidelines.”

Parler’s community guidelines were written by Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff, according to two people familiar with the matter. Parler did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Parler went offline following the riot at the U.S. Capitol. Amazon Web Services cut ties with Parler, and Google and Apple removed Parler from their mobile app stores. The Parler website relaunched in February with support from cloud hosting company SkySilk Inc.

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