Google, Apple & Amazon Suspend Parler Over Promotion of Violence
Tech giant Apple Inc. also on gave the platform 24 hours to submit a moderation plan.
Google, Amazon and Apple suspended the Parler social networking service from its Play Store for allegedly not removing posts that incite violence in the wake of the recent US Capitol siege. Amazon and Google’s decision came on Saturday, 9 January, a day after Alphabet Inc's Google.
Parler, which became the most downloaded app in the United States after the US election, has gained huge popularity among Trump supporters and right-leaning conservatives. Trump is not a user of Parler. His account has been temporarily blocked by Twitter and Facebook after he sent out tweets backing his supporters who stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday, 6 January.
Both companies removed several posts of Trump that cast doubt on the election results and lauded his supporters as part of a clampdown on the spread of election misinformation.
Amazon suspended Parler from its Amazon Web Services (AWS) unit for ineffectively dealing with ‘violent content’ and thereafter, violating AWS’s terms of services, reported Reuters. Amazon reportedly found 98 posts on the site that incited violence. This move by Amazon has taken down the site until it can find a new web hosting service.
Google stated that it has suspended the platform unless it implements ‘robust’ content moderation, citing its policy against apps promoting violence. According to Reuters, Google evidenced this by stating posts made on Parler that read, ‘How do we take back our country? About 20 or so coordinate hits’ and another ‘Million Militia March’ on Washington.
Tech giant Apple also gave the platform 24 hours to submit a moderation plan on Friday, asking it to ‘remove all objectionable content from your app’, Reuters report added, quoting the company.
What Is Parler?
Parler is a social network platform popular among right-wingers and Trump sympathisers, which gained traffic after the stricter implementation of Twitter and Facebook’s policy against egregious content.
Plans for the storming of the US Capitol in Washington DC was widely discussed on Parler, Reuters noted.
What Did Amazon Say?
Amazon stated that Parler’s account would be suspended, effective from Sunday, 11.59 pm PST from its Amazon Web Services unit, due to the ‘very real risk to public safety’ that the app poses.
What Did Google and Apple Say?
Reuters also quoted Google’s statement, which said, “For us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content.”
After the storming of the US Capitol, Google specifically mentioned that amid the ongoing public safety threat, the app would be suspended from the Play Store until it addresses issues such as incitement of violence.
In a similar letter by Apple’s app store review team, the firm noted that ‘content that threatens the well-being of others or is intended to incite violence or other lawless acts has never been acceptable on the App Store’.
Further, Apple also urged the social media platform to submit a plan to them in writing, noting how they would moderate and filter the content on Parler.
Parler Chief Executive John Matze put up a post accusing Amazon, Google and Apple of ‘trying to inflict damage as Trump was banned from other platforms’, quoted Reuters. "This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place... You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue, but don't count us out.”
He told Parler users that the app would be ‘unavailable on internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch’, reported Reuters.
(With inputs from Reuters)
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