Apple reinstates ‘free speech’ Parler to the App Store

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Why it matters: Parler, the app that bills itself as a free speech alternative to Facebook and Twitter, has been reinstated to the Apple App Store. This is sure to please many conservative leaning people who were drawn to the app during the recent presidential election. Apple says it’s had extensive talks with the social media platform to institute more stringent moderation policies to prevent violence and hate speech.

Following the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol, self-described “free speech” social network app Parler was pulled from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. Apple has reversed its position and has reinstated Parler, per CNN, citing that it had “substantial conversations” with Parler about following App Store policies.

Apple’s senior director for government affairs, Timothy Powderly, explained the reasoning behind the decision in a letter to Senator Mike Lee and Congressman Ken Buck. The letter is a response to an inquiry by Senator Lee and Congressman Buck following the de-platforming of Parler.

“As a result of those conversations, Parler has proposed updates to its app and the app’s content moderation practices,” said Powderly, “The App Review Team has informed Parler as of April 14th, 2021, that its proposed updated app will be approved for reinstatement to the App Store. Apple anticipates that the updated Parler app will become immediately available upon Parler releasing it.

The app bills itself as a free speech alternative to more popular social networking platforms like Facebook or Twitter. It drew many conservative-leaning supporters, particularly those who supported Donald Trump in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Parler was originally kicked away from the App Store due to violating Apple’s policies on hate speech and inciting violence. Apple gave Parler a 24-hour notice to update their moderation policies to comply with App Store rules, but failed to do so. Apple subsequently made good on their promise to remove Parler which was then followed by Google. Amazon also kicked Parler out of AWS after repeated warnings. However, it seems that Parler has been able to update its moderation policies to get back in Apple’s good graces.





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