Parler ‘free speech’ app suspended by Google and Apple ‘will follow’ over ‘posts threatening violence at inauguration’

1 month ago 10

PARLER, a self-described "free speech" social network frequented by right-wing extremists, has been suspended from Google's Play Store over failure to remove "egregious content."

The social media, described by its users as "unbiased," has been a popular network among those banned from Twitter - including big names like the president's personal and campaign accounts and others banned following this week's attempted coup of the Capitol building.

Google suspended the conservative app Parler from its store

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Google suspended the conservative app Parler from its storeCredit: AFP or licensors

Google suspended the app over concerns of inciting violence

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Google suspended the app over concerns of inciting violenceCredit: Parler

Google's actions come after some users on Parler were complaining about Trump's ban from Twitter and promised to once again take over the Capitol in a show of violence on President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration day.

"Many of us will return on January 19, 2021 carrying Our weapons in support of Our nation's resolve towhich [sic] the world will never forget!!!" wrote a user on Parler before the app was taken down.

Google removed the app late Friday night after fellow social media companies Facebook and Twitter removed Trump's accounts and any other accounts spreading falsities or having the potential to "incite violence."

"In order to protect user safety on Google Play, our longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like posts that incite violence," Google said in a statement Friday.

Parler Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff said it was being unfairly targeted

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Parler Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff said it was being unfairly targetedCredit: Twitter

People are calling on Amazon to remove Parler from its services

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People are calling on Amazon to remove Parler from its servicesCredit: Twitter

"All developers agree to these terms and we have reminded Parler of this clear policy in recent months," it continued. "We're aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the U.S."

"We recognize that there can be reasonable debate about content policies and that it cant 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," the statement concluded.

Apple has also threatened Parler it will remove the app from its App Store should it not comply with similar content-moderation requirements.

In response, Parler's chief executive questioned the app's First Amendment rights.

"We won't cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech!" John Matze said.

On Fox News, Parler's Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff claimed the app was being targeted because it's a conservative platform that doesn't fact check users.

"We're competing with other platforms who have decided that they want to surveil," Peikoff said. "The nature of an open platform, a free and open town square, is that we do not take action on people until we are aware of a situation that’s particularly suspicious."

People are calling for Amazon, which hosts Parler on its Amazon Web Services cloud, to also remove the app from its platforms.

"Enough is enough. Amazon hosts Parler on @awscloud," read an Amazon Workers tweet. "As Amazon workers, we demand Amazon deny Parler services until it removes posts inciting violence, including at the Presidential inauguration."

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"We cannot be complicit in more bloodshed and violent attacks on our democracy."

Parler was launched in 2018 following the rise of far-right extremist conservatives under Trump. Such groups have accused Twitter and Facebook of being too swift to censor their views.

Although Trump is not on the platform, Parler does boast plenty of high profile electeds and conservatives, including GOP Senator Ted Cruz, who has 4.9 million followers, and Sean Hannity, with 7 million.

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