Apple, Amazon deplatform Parler for not moderating content: ‘Incites violence against others’

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Parler, the new social media platform that has been a refuge for Trump supporters amid increased moderation by traditional platforms like Twitter and Facebook, has been suspended by Apple and Amazon.

Apple had threatened on Friday that it would remove Parler from its App Store if the company did not moderate content posted to the platform, which Apple deemed had helped facilitate deadly violence in Washington, D.C., last week.

What did Apple say?

The company removed Parler from the App Store late Saturday, claiming the alternative social media platform did not adequately address its concerns about content moderation.

“We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” Apple told The Hill in a statement. “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety.”

Apple said Parler’s suspension from the App Store would continue “until they resolve these issues.”

The development is a major blow for the growing platform, which was the top free app in the Apple App Store at the time of its removal. On Friday, Google removed Parler from the Google Play Store over similar concerns. This means Parler is now unavailable for download on the two most widely used smartphone operating systems.

What did Amazon do?

In a surprising move late Saturday, Amazon informed Parler that it would suspend the social media app’s use of Amazon Web Services’ hosting servers.

“Recently, we’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms. It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service,” Amazon told Parler in an email, BuzzFeed News reported.

“[W]e cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others,” the email added. “Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST.”

Fortunately for Parler, Amazon said they would work with Parler’s team to ensure all of its server data is protected.

“We will ensure that all of your data is preserved for you to migrate to your own servers, and will work with you as best as we can to help your migration,” Amazon said.

How did Parler respond?

After Amazon’s announcement, Parler CEO John Matze said there “is the possibility Parler will be unavailable on the internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch.”

Matze criticized the deplatforming effort by Google, Apple, and Amazon, calling it “unprecedented, unfounded and absolutely disgusting.”

“We are the closest thing to competition Facebook or Twitter has seen in many years. I believe Amazon, Google, Apple worked together to try and ensure they don’t have competition,” Matze said.

In another post, Matze continued, “We will try our best to move to a new provider right now as we have many competing for our business, however Amazon, Google and Apple purposefully did this as a coordinated effort knowing our options would be limited and knowing this would inflict the most damage right as President Trump was banned from the tech companies.”

“This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place. We were too successful too fast,” Matze added. “You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue, but don’t count us out.”

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