Apple had similar issues to Amazon Web Services but said it was only suspending Parler, not banning it permanently and that the situation could be “cured” if Parler added moderation and removed violent content. (Apple said in its letter that over 30,000 apps had been removed in 2020 for issues with objectionable user-generated content.) Google had also removed Parler from its Google Play store.
“Apple made an independent decision to remove Parler for non-compliance with [its] Guidelines and it did not coordinate or otherwise consult with Google or Amazon with respect to that decision. Apple stands by that decision,” said Timothy Powderly, Apple’s senior director for government affairs, in the letter, which was addressed to Rep. Ken Buck and Sen. Mike Lee (see below).
Since then, Parler has proposed updates to its app and the app’s content moderation practices and Apple’s App Review Team “has informed Parler as of April 14, 20211 that its proposed updated app will be approved for reinstatement to the App Store. Apple anticipates that the updated Parler app will become available immediately upon Parler releasing it,” the letter said.
Apple CEO Tim Cook had presaged the move including in an interview with Kara Swisher on her podcast Sway.
“You can’t be inciting violence or allow people to incite violence. You can’t allow hate speech and so forth. And they had moved from moderating to not being able to moderate. But we gave them a chance to cure that. And they were unable to do that or didn’t do that. And so we had to pull them off. Now, having said that … I hope that they come back on. Because we work hard to get people on the store, not to keep people off the store. And so, I’m hoping that they put in the moderation that’s required to be on the store and come back, because I think having more social networks out there is better than having less.”
On March 31, @SenMikeLee and I sent a letter demanding answers about why Apple removed Parler from the App Store.
🚨Today, we received a response: Parler will be reinstated on the App Store. Huge win for free speech. pic.twitter.com/FQBDSSSFGk
— Congressman Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) April 19, 2021