Parler Gets the Boot From Amazon, Google and Apple

“Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety,” Apple says

Last Updated: January 10, 2021 @ 7:58 AM

Parler, a fast-growing social media app with a large base of right-wing users, underwent a sudden reversal on Saturday after Amazon announced that it could no longer use Amazon’s web-hosting service as of Sunday night because of repeated violations of the tech giant’s rules.

“Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms,” Amazon Web Services’ team wrote an email to Parler obtained by BuzzFeed. “It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service.”

Both Google and Apple have suspended Parler from their app stores, with Apple accusing the upstart app on Saturday of not taking “adequate measures” to address “threats of violence and illegal activity” that have cropped up in user comments in the wake of Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” Apple’s statement reads. “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety. We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues.”

Parler, which had rocketed to be the No. 1 app on Apple’s App Store earlier on Saturday, must now scramble to find a way to remain online. “We will try our best to move to a new provider right now as we have many competing for our business, however Amazon, Google and Apple purposefully did this as a coordinated effort knowing our options would be limited and knowing this would inflict the most damage right as President Trump was banned from the tech companies,” Parler CEO John Matze said in a statement on the platform.

“This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill the competition in the market place,” he added. “We were too successful too fast.”

On Friday, BuzzFeed News reported that Apple had threatened to permanently ban Parler from the App Store unless it created a “moderation improvement plan” after complaints about “objectionable content” including users’ attempts “to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property.”

Apple’s App Review Board sent a letter to the Parler development team Saturday, which was obtained by TheWrap, saying it had “determined that the measures you describe are inadequate to address the proliferation of dangerous and objectionable content on your app.”

Representatives for Parler did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the Apple suspension, which came one day after Parler was suspended by the Google Play Store for lack of moderation on “egregious content.”

“Parler has not upheld its commitment to moderate and remove harmful or dangerous content encouraging violence and illegal activity, and is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines,” Apple wrote in its communication to the Parler team.

“In your response, you referenced that Parler has been taking this content ‘very seriously for weeks.’ However, the processes Parler has put in place to moderate or prevent the spread of dangerous and illegal content have proved insufficient,” the letter continued. “Specifically, we have continued to find direct threats of violence and calls to incite lawless action.”

The letter added, “While there is no perfect system to prevent all dangerous or hateful user content, apps are required to have robust content moderation plans in place to proactively and effectively address these issues. A temporary ‘task force’ is not a sufficient response given the widespread proliferation of harmful content.”

Before Parler was suspended by Apple Saturday, it was the No. 1 app in the App Store, according to mobile app analytics company Sensor Tower, having risen from the No. 11 spot on Friday — the day Twitter permanently suspended President Trump’s personal account.

Parler, which was launched in 2018, has a very large user base of Trump supporters, many of whom have been banned from other social platforms. It frequently contains far-right content and conspiracy theories.