Google Suspends Media App Parler, Apple Threatens To Do Same.
Touchaheart Nigeria reports that Parler, the alternative social media platform popular with conservatives, has been suspended by Google and banned from the Google Play Store.
What Is Parler?
Parler is a non-biased, free speech social media that is focused on protecting user’s rights. You can reate your own community and enjoy content and news in real time using PARLER.
Parler styles itself as “unbiased” social media and has proved popular with people banned from Twitter.
Launched in 2018, Parler has proved particularly popular among supporters of US President Donald Trump and right-wing conservatives. Such groups have frequently accused Twitter and Facebook of unfairly censoring their views.
As major platforms began taking action against viral conspiracy theories, disinformation and the harassment of election workers and officials in the aftermath of the US presidential vote, the app became more popular with elements of the fringe far-right.
This turned the network into a right-wing echo chamber, almost entirely populated by users fixated on revealing examples of election fraud and posting messages in support of attempts to overturn the election outcome.
In the days preceding the Capitol riots, the tone of discussion on the app became significantly more violent, with some users openly discussing ways to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory by Congress.
Unsubstantiated allegations and defamatory claims against a number of senior US figures such as Chief Justice John Roberts and Vice-President Mike Pence were rife on the app.
Google and Apple say they are taking necessary action to ensure violent rhetoric is not promoted on their platforms.
However, to those increasingly concerned about freedom of speech and expression on online platforms, it represents another example of draconian action by major tech companies which threatens internet freedom.
This is a debate which is certain to continue beyond the Trump presidency…
On Parler, the app’s chief executive John Matze said:
“We won’t cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech!”
While Mr Trump himself is not a user, the platform already features several high-profile contributors following earlier bursts of growth in 2020.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz boasts 4.9 million followers on the platform, while Fox News host Sean Hannity has about seven million.
It briefly became the most-downloaded app in the United States after the US election, following a clampdown on the spread of election misinformation by Twitter and Facebook.
However, Google said the app had failed to remove posts inciting violence.
“Our longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like posts that incite violence.
“We’re aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US,” a Google spokesperson said.
“We recognize that there can be reasonable debate about content policies and that it can be difficult for apps to immediately remove all violative content, but for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content.
In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app’s listings from the Play Store until it addresses these issues.”
This Online Medium learnt via a report by BuzzFeed News which implied that Apple has threatened to remove Parler from the iOS App Store if it does not comply with its content-moderation requirements.
It said it had seen “accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate” the attacks on the US Capitol on 6 January.
Mr Matze said Parler had “no way to organise anything” and pointed out that Facebook groups and events had been used to organise action.
But Apple said:
“Our investigation has found that Parler is not effectively moderating and removing content that encourages illegal activity and poses a serious risk to the health and safety of
users in direct violation of your own terms of service.”
“We won’t distribute apps that present dangerous and harmful content.”
The decision marks a major blow to President Donald Trump’s supporters, many of whom have found a home on the Parler platform. But it does not completely deny them access to the app. Because Android allows for third-party app stores, Parler can still be hosted on app stores not operated by Google.
The suspension from Google Play came during the same evening in which Twitter banned President Trump’s @realDonaldTrump account from its social network. The move effectively strips Trump of his preferred social network, which he’d used throughout his presidency to bypass traditional media and direct his message to his tens of millions of followers.
In a related development:
Google has kicked Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast off YouTube, saying it had repeatedly violated the platform’s rules.
The ex-White House aide’s channel had more than 300,000 subscribers.