Tim Cook: Parler can return to App Store once it solves moderation issues

Tim Cook: Parler can return to App Store once it solves moderation issues

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Google, Apple and Amazon exercise their rights as private companies to refuse to do business with Parler.
Parler is welcome back as soon as it can solve its moderation problems.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

Social media app Parler will be restored to the App Store if it complies with Apple’s terms of service, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Wednesday.

In a CBS interview, Cook said the app “has some issues with moderation.” However, he said Apple’s “hope is that they do that and get back on the store.”

Parler, which positions itself as a right-wing alternative to Twitter, was banished from the App Store over the weekend. Google also removed Parler from the Google Play store, while Amazon cut off its cloud-hosting service, taking the website offline. (At time of writing, Parler’s website remains down.)

Users reportedly utilized the service to help plan the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week. Apple put Parler on notice Friday, giving the social network 24 hours to begin moderating “dangerous and harmful” comments posted by users.

“We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property,” Apple reportedly wrote in an email to Parler execs.

Cook denied that Apple banned Parler, however. “We suspended them, we did not ban them,” Cook clarified. “We have terms of service for our App Store, and some of those terms of service [Parler CEO John Matze is] in violation of. All we’re asking is he meet the terms of service.”

Apple’s stance on Parler hasn’t necessarily changed. The company previously told Parler that, to remain in the App Store, it needed to start moderating “dangerous and harmful” user comments.

Restoring Parler to the App Store

Whether any of this happens however, remains to be seen. Parler did not take Apple up on its advice at first, leading to the app’s removal from the App Store.

Matze reportedly wrote on Parler (where else?) that, “Apparently they [Apple] believe Parler is responsible for all user generated content on Parler.” He likened Parler’s responsibility for users of the service committing criminal acts to Apple’s own responsibility for anyone using an iPhone to plan a criminal attack.

“Standards not applied to Twitter, Facebook or even Apple themselves, apply to Parler,” he wrote.

Parler is currently suing Amazon for kicking it off the internet.