Apple has given Parler, a social network favored by conservatives and extremists, an ultimatum to implement a full plan to moderate its platform within the next 24 hours or be sent off by the app store.
In an email sent this morning to BuzzFeed News, Apple wrote to Parler executives that there were complaints that the service was used to plan and coordinate the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump on Wednesday. The uprising left five people dead, including a police officer.
“We have received numerous complaints about spam in your Parler service, allegations that the Parler application was used to plan, coordinate and facilitate illegal activities in Washington on January 6, 2021
Apple said that “to ensure that there is no interruption in the availability of your app in the App Store,” Parler was required to submit an update and “a plan to improve moderation within 24 hours of the date of the announcement,” which was shipped Friday morning. Apple said that if it does not receive an update from the company within this period, the application will be removed from the App Store.
An Apple spokesman declined to comment.
Regarding Parler, CEO John Matze set a defiant tone. “We will not take advantage of the pressure of anti-competitive actors! We have always applied our rules against violence and illegal activity. But we will NOT win over politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate freedom of speech! “he wrote in a message.
“Everyone who buys an Apple phone is obviously a consumer. “Obviously, they know what’s best for you by telling you which apps you can and shouldn’t use,” he added.
Launched in 2018, Parler has become a safe haven for people who have been banned or stopped by popular social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, for violating the rules of these platforms. The Henderson, Nevada-based company has called for an alternative to free speech on mass social media and has taken a calmer approach to content moderation, attracting conspiracy theorists, members of hate groups and right-wing activists who openly incite violence. Recent topics about Parler, for example, call for the execution of Vice President Mike Pence and promote the conspiracy theory that left-wing antifa activists are behind Wednesday’s events.
Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz and minority minority leader Kevin McCarthy, as well as family members and President Donald Trump’s surrogates, have all established Parler accounts and called on their followers from other social media sites to migrate there.
“Content of this dangerous and harmful nature is not appropriate for the App Store. “As you know from previous conversations with App Review, Apple requires applications with user-generated content to be moderated effectively to ensure that unwanted, potentially harmful content is filtered out,” the iPhone maker wrote in a letter. “Content that endangers the well-being of others or is intended to incite violence or other illegal activity has never been acceptable in the App Store.”
The full text of the letter follows:
We require your immediate attention regarding serious violations of the App Store guidelines that we have identified with your application, Parler.
We’ve received numerous complaints about spam in your Parler service, allegations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate illegal activities in Washington on January 6, 2021, leading (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries and destruction of property. It appears that the application continues to be used to plan and facilitate additional illegal and dangerous activities.
Our investigation has found that Parler does not effectively moderate and remove content that promotes illegal activity and poses a serious risk to the health and safety of users in direct violation of your own terms of service, found here: https://legal.parler. com / documents / Elaboration-on-Guidelines.pdf
Examples of these complaints can be found at these links:
Content of this dangerous and harmful nature is not suitable for the App Store. As you know from previous App Review conversations, Apple requires applications with user-generated content to moderate effectively to ensure that unwanted, potentially harmful content is filtered out. Content that endangers the well-being of others or is intended to incite violence or other illegal activity has never been acceptable in the App Store.
Your CEO was quoted recently as saying, “But I don’t feel responsible for any of this, and also the platform, because we are a neutral city square that just sticks to the law.” We want to be aware that Parler is in fact responsible for all user-generated content available on your service and that this content meets the App Store’s requirements for the safety and security of our users. We will not distribute applications that are dangerous or harmful content.
We have now rejected your app for the App Store review instructions described below.
Guideline 1.1 – Safety – Undesirable content
We’ve found that your app includes content that some users may find disruptive, offensive, or otherwise unwanted. In particular, we found direct threats of violence and calls for incitement to illegal action.
Guideline 1.2 – Security – User-generated content
Your application allows the display of user-generated content, but does not have sufficient precautions to effectively manage obscene content available in your application.
See the attached screenshots for more details.
For the App Store, nothing is more important than the safety of our users. You must resolve this issue immediately for your app to remain in the App Store.
Please remove all unwanted content from your application and submit your revised binary for review. Such content includes any content similar to the examples attached to this Communication, as well as any content relating to human harm or attacks on government facilities now or at any future date. In addition, you should respond to this message with detailed information about how you intend to moderate and filter this content from your application and what you will do to improve the moderation and filtering of your service content for this type of spam in the future.
To ensure that there is no interruption in the availability of your app in the App Store, please send an update and the requested moderation improvement plan within 24 hours of the date of this message. If we do not receive an update within 24 hours that complies with the App Store review guidelines and the requested moderation improvement plan, your application will be removed from the App Store.
If you have any questions about this message, please answer and let us know.
Application review board