Apple Approves Parler’s Return to App Store

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24: CEO of Apple Tim Cook is seen at halftime at the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional at the Honda Center on March 24, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Apple has approved social media platform Parler to return to its App Store, which will effectively allow iPhone users to download the Parler app once again.

Apple told Congress in a letter on Monday that it will allow Parler to return to its App Store, following changes made by the social media company to better detect and moderate so-called “hate speech” and “incitement,” according to a report by Wall Street Journal.

The letter — addressed to Sen. Mike Lee (R-AZ) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) — explained that Parler “has proposed updates to its app and the app’s content moderation practices,” after its app was removed from Apple’s App Store in January for alleged violations of its policies.

“Apple anticipates that the updated Parler app will become available immediately upon Parler releasing it,” the tech giant added in its letter.

Parler, an alternative to Twitter popular among conservative users, was banned from the App Store shortly after Twitter permanently banned President Donald Trump from its platform, and as swarms of conservative social media users began to leave Twitter for Parler.

Apple was not alone in its decision to ban Parler — effectively excluding the app from all iPhone smartphones — at that time.

Google had also blacklisted the social media platform from its Play Store — effectively excluding the app from all Android smartphones. Then Amazon booted Parler off its web hosting service Amazon Web Services (AWS), which knocked the platform offline until it could find a new host.

Many considered the move to ban Parler at that moment an attempt to crush Twitter’s competition, as banning the social media platform from smartphones and the internet “at the very time it is set to skyrocket” killed its business, according to a lawsuit Parler filed against Amazon earlier this year.

But the tech giants justified their actions by pushing the narrative that words posted to the social media platform could “incite violence” in the wake of the January 6 Capitol Hill riot.

The companies, however, did not treat other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in the same manner — despite most of the protesters’ conversations surrounding their plans on Capitol Hill appearing to be hosted by the Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe.

Parler was able to return online in February with a new web hosting service, after being offline for over a month following the Amazon debacle. There is still no word on whether Google will allow the social media platform back onto its Play Store.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler @alana, and on Instagram.

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