Science & Tech

Apple Approves Parler’s Return to App Store

Customers walk past the new Apple store at Grand Central Station in New York, August 1, 2018. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters )

Citing Parler’s revision of its content guidelines, Apple has allowed the company back on to its IOS app store after removing it from the platform in January.

Apple had alleged that Parler violated its social media policy by permitting violent speech tied to the capitol riot. The decision to re-approve Parler now makes it possible for users to once again download the app on their Apple devices. 

Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah) and Representative Ken Buck (R., Colo.) originally sent a letter to Apple demanding answers surrounding Parler’s removal from the App Store.

In a response letter addressed to top Republicans, Apple wrote that Parler “has proposed updates to its app and the app’s content moderation practices.” The letter to Congress confirmed that Apple deemed the changes satisfactory enough to provide Parler with access to its store again. 

Apple’s senior director for government affairs, Timothy Powderly said in the letter, “Apple anticipates that the updated Parler app will become available immediately upon Parler releasing it.”

Buck since tweeted that Apple’s approval for Parler’s return is a “huge win for free speech.” 

Parler brands itself as an app that promotes free speech. When the tech crackdown occurred, Parler claimed it was already developing an artificial intelligence-based content moderation system.

 In addition to being removed from the Apple app store, Parler was also kicked off Amazon Web Services and Google’s app stores following the capitol incident. All three companies said Parler was removed for failing to moderate violent speech. Parler has brought legal action against Amazon, accusing Big Tech giants of anti-competitive, predatory behavior designed to corner Parler out of the market. 

The Republican lawmakers have also pressed Google on removing the app from its Play store and Amazon for suspending Parler’s platform from its web hosting services.

The letter to Congress comes before a hearing on Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee antitrust subcommittee App Store fairness. Apple has agreed to send a witness to testify.

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