Parler, the conservative social media app, has been battling Big Tech and censorship over connections to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S Capitol. Even though court document documents reveal that Facebook and YouTube were mentioned more than any other social media site related to the riots, Apple is refusing to allow Parler on its app store again until they “comply” with App Store Review guidelines. Parler LLC eliminated seven workers and released new community guidelines on Feb. 15 which, apparently, still wasn’t good enough for Apple.
“After having reviewed the new information, we do not believe these changes are sufficient to comply with App Store Review guidelines. There is no place for hateful, racist, discriminatory content on the App Store,” Apple wrote to Parler in a letter.
They went on to accuse the conservative app of simple searches within their platform revealing easily identified offensive uses of derogatory terms regarding race, religion, sexual orientation, and Nazi symbols. They included several screenshots with user profile pictures with swastikas and posts that supported white nationalism, misogyny, homophobia, and racism. “For these reasons, your app cannot be returned to the App Store for distribution until it complies with the guidelines,” Apple adds.
However, the double standards being used by Apple are singling out Parler in particular. Twitter, for example, was refusing to take down pornographic images and videos of underage sex trafficking victims at the beginning of this year because an investigation “didn’t find a violation” of the company’s policies. Several clips on the platform showed a 13-year-old engaged in sex acts, as well as other forms of child sexual abuse material and child porn. The videos were reported multiple times by users but the tech giant failed to do anything about it.
Facebook has also lost multiple court battles over lawsuits regarding young women being sex trafficked on the Facebook or Instagram platforms. The lawsuits claim that Facebook has been a “breeding ground” for sex traffickers and young women being coerced into prostitution. Facebook, however, has claimed “immunity” from these lawsuits in accordance with the Communications Decency Act that then-President Bill Clinton signed in 1996. The Act states that “No provider or user of an interactive computer of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
Parler launched its platform to counter Big Tech and prided itself on embracing free speech, as well as a respect for privacy and personal data for all users. The company has tackled hateful and violent speech, as well as developed a whole new set of terms in order to appease Apple and remain on the App Store but, apparently, the changes were not enough to warrant re-entry. Parler can still be found on search engines and is back online, but even its Interim CEO Mark Meckler said that there has been a “conspiracy” to wipe Parler from the face of the earth.
Apple is being called out for its hypocrisy over attacking Parler while allowing platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to remain in the App Store. This has never been about ‘censorship’ and always been about Big Tech killing the free market and its competitors.