Apple has denied Parler’s attempt to return to the App Store, according to multiple reports on Wednesday, with Apple saying the social media platform — which has been embraced by many conservative users and free speech absolutists — hasn’t done enough to beef up its content moderation.
“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 said in a recent letter to Parler, according to Bloomberg, the first outlet to report the story.
Apple said that recent changes Parler made to its rules were not “sufficient” enough to win back a spot on the App Store. The tech giant said it was able to find several examples of “objectionable content” still on Parler, including Nazi symbols and “derogatory terms” tied to race, religion and sexual orientation. “There is not place for hateful, racist, discriminatory content on the App Store,” Apple added.
Parler and Apple did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. The Washington Post, soon after Bloomberg’s story was published on Wednesday, confirmed Parler had recently been blocked from rejoining the App Store.
Launched in 2018 and financially backed by Republican political donor Rebekah Mercer, Parler has had a difficult 2021. The platform’s app was booted from both Apple and Google’s app stores in January, soon after supporters of ex-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. Afterwards, Apple said Parler had not “taken adequate measures to address the proliferation” of violent threats on its app, leading to its removal.
At the time, Parler had run to the top of the Apple App Store rankings, after Twitter decided to permanently ban Trump for his comments leading up to the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Amazon also stopped hosting Parler in January, a move that temporarily booted Parler offline as it scrambled to find a new company to support it; Amazon said it cut ties with Parler because it “poses a very real risk to public safety.”
Parler is now back online, but it’s banishment from the App Store severely limits its reach and ability to add new users. The company is also looking for a new full-time CEO, after firing co-founder and chief executive John Matze last month.