Apple withdrew Talk from the App Store after accusations the social media app was promoting calls for violence before and after the invasion of the United States Capitol.
“We still support different views represented on the App Store, but there is no room on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity. Parler has not taken adequate measures to deal with the proliferation of these threats to human security. We have put Talking on the App Store on hold until they resolve these issues, ”a company statement said on Saturday night.
Apple issued an ultimatum to Speak on Friday asking it to remove content that violates its policies and provide a plan on how to moderate content in the future, which was first reported by BuzzFeed News. Apple said Parler has 24 hours to make changes or it will be removed from the App Store.
Apparently, Parler offered changes, but Apple decided they weren’t enough, according to a statement that Apple sent Parler with its final decision to remove the app. He declares that “the processes that Parler has implemented to moderate or prevent the distribution of dangerous and illegal content have been proven insufficient” and that Parler will not return to the App Store until it has demonstrated its ability. to effectively moderate and filter the dangerous and harmful content on its service. ”
Here is the full statement provided by Apple:
To the developers of the Parler app,
Thank you for your response regarding dangerous and harmful content on Parler. We have determined that the measures you describe are inadequate to address the proliferation of dangerous and objectionable content on your app.
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.
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. Specifically, we have continued to find direct threats of violence and calls to incite lawless action in violation of Guideline 1.1 – Safety – Objectionable Content.
Your response also references a moderation plan “for the time being,” which does not meet the ongoing requirements in Guideline 1.2 – Safety – User Generated content. 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.
For these reasons, your app will be removed from the App Store until we receive an update that is compliant with the App Store Review Guidelines and you have demonstrated your ability to effectively moderate and filter the dangerous and harmful content on your service.
Regards, App Review Board
The app was still briefly available on the Apple Store after receiving the announcement, but it disappeared from the store within minutes of this article’s publication. As TechCrunch reported today, the app has risen to number one in the App Store and may have won over hundreds of thousands of users between the time Apple released its 24-hour ultimatum and that where the company removed it.
Google called Talking Friday night. “We are aware of ongoing posts on the Talk app that seek to incite continued violence in the United States,” Google said in a statement. “We recognize that there can be a reasonable debate over content policies and that it may be difficult for apps to immediately remove any infringing content, but to distribute an app through Google Play, we require the apps to implement implements robust moderation for blatant content. In light of this continuing and urgent threat to public safety, we are suspending the app’s listings on the Play Store until it resolves these issues. ”
Apple and Google faced pressure on Friday to bemoan Parler, which is known to be conservative and less strict moderator than other social media platforms. The removal of both apps comes after a crowd attack Wednesday on the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump protesters. Speaking policy chief Amy Piekoff told Fox News on Friday that an App Store ban would be “huge,” adding that if Apple removed Speaking “we’re fried.”
Speak did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday. CEO John Matze released a statement about Parler accusing Apple of applying a “horrible double standard” to its decision.
“Apple, Google and the rest of the anti-competitive group of big tech bullies are coordinating their moves and working together to stifle competition in the marketplace,” he wrote. Matze added that more details would come soon on Parler’s plans, “because we have a lot of options.”
Amazon and Apple Drop Talking
Amazon and Apple took action on Saturday to cut access to the social media app Talk after calls for violence on the platform continued after the pro-Trump attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The app is a favorite among conservatives and hardline supporters of President Trump.
Apple said on Saturday it was suspending Talking from its App Store, preventing iPhone users from downloading the app. At around the same time, reports revealed that Amazon was hacking its hosting service’s website, meaning Talking will be offline unless it finds a new host.
Apple said Parler had not taken enough action to prevent “threats of violence and illegal activity” from spreading to the site. Likewise, Amazon wrote to Parler that “it has seen a steady increase in this violent content on its website, which violates our terms.”
BuzzFeed News reported Amazon’s letter to Parler, which an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to be genuine.
Talking is used by millions of users as a social media alternative to Facebook and Twitter, sites that many right-wing voices accuse of unfair censorship. But the largely unmoderated nature of the app, which calls itself “the world’s premier free speech platform”, has generated hateful and conspiratorial speech and calls for violence.
Parler CEO John Matze responded with a post on the website, calling Amazon’s action “an attempt to completely suppress free speech on the Internet.” He said Parler could be down for a week “while we rebuild from scratch”.
Researchers who monitor extremism online say Parler, Gab, TheDonald and MeWe are among several of the most accessible online forums that have fueled the spread of increasingly dangerous ideologies. Since November, posts on these sites have echoed Trump’s lies about a “stolen” election.
Users interpreted Trump’s calls to action as a basis for violence, seen when the president’s most fervent supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington, DC on Wednesday to halt the Electoral College’s certification of votes for President.
Amazon and Apple’s actions are part of a broad crackdown on tech companies that are under pressure to take stronger measures against threats of violence. A day earlier, Twitter permanently suspended President Trump, and soon after, Google removed the Talk app from its Play Store.
At the time of publication, the Apple Talking app was still usable by those who had previously downloaded it from the App Store. Amazon said it will remove Speak after 11:59 p.m. PT Sunday.
Apple has left open the possibility of allowing the return of Parler if “they solve these problems.”