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Google pulls Parler, Apple may follow, after use in Capitol riot

Capitol Police officers gather riot gear inside the Capitol Building as supporters of President Donald Trump mob the building in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.Anna Moneymaker/NYT

Google removed Parler from its Play Store, and Apple Inc. threatened a similar action, after the social-media service was among those used to organize the riots this week at the Capitol in Washington.

“We’re aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US,” a Google spokesman wrote in a statement. “We recognize that there can be reasonable debate about content policies and that it can be difficult for apps to immediately remove all violative content, but for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content.”


Alphabet Inc.’s Google said Parler will be suspended until it addresses this “ongoing and urgent public safety threat.” The internet giant said it has reminded Parler of these policies for months.

In a letter to the developers of Parler, Apple said it will pull the app in 24 hours if it does not get a plan to moderate the service more.

“You must respond to this message with detailed information about how you intend to moderate and filter this content from your app, and what you will do to improve moderation and content filtering,” Apple wrote. BuzzFeed News earlier reported on the letter. An Apple spokesman declined to comment. Parler Inc. didn’t respond to a request for comment.

On its App Store page, Parler describes itself as a “non-biased, free speech social media focused on protecting user’s rights.” The service has gained popularity with extremists as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. have cracked down on users who promote violence. Parler is ranked 18th among free apps on Apple’s App Store over the last 90 days, according to Apptopia data.

Google said the Parler app will not be removed from the phones of users who already downloaded it. The suspension also doesn’t limit the app’s availability on other Android app stores. The internet giant cited content as recently as Friday that included threats to elected officials and plans to organize a militia march.


Parler 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 said in its letter to Parler.

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