When Twitter suspended President Trump's personal account (opens in new tab) on Friday evening, two days after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, Parler rose to number one (opens in new tab) on the app store. The social networking service, which markets itself (opens in new tab) as "the free speech social network," has become an alternative to Twitter (opens in new tab) for conservatives and far-right extremists and, most recently, has reportedly been used to organize the deadly riots at the Capitol (opens in new tab). In light of these reports, Apple and Google announced they would remove Parler from their respective app stores.
"In order to protect user safety on Google Play, our longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like posts that incite violence," a Google spokesperson said in a statement Friday, per NBC News (opens in new tab). "All developers agree to these terms and we have reminded Parler of this clear policy in recent months. We’re aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the U.S."
Apple also suspended Parler from its app store after threatening to remove (opens in new tab) it 24 hours earlier if it didn't submit an update and a moderation improvement plan.
"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 said in a statement, per Politico (opens in new tab). "Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety. We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues."
Amazon is now following in the footsteps of Apple and Google by threatening to remove its cloud service, which powers Parler. BuzzFeed reported (opens in new tab) that Amazon Web Services (AWS) will no longer provide cloud services to the company beginning on Sunday, January 10, at 11:59 p.m. PT, which means Parler will need to find a new cloud provider to host its site by this time. Otherwise, it won't be able to operate.
This is an exceptional thread on why Parler isn’t likely to return any time soon, if at all.One of the major points is that Rebekah Mercer, who has chosen to keep pouring money into Breitbart, might think that it’s no longer worth her significant investment. Unreal. https://t.co/no4bgsHiz2January 10, 2021
Since its founding in 2018, Parler has become a hub (opens in new tab) for QAnon conspiracy theorists, members of the Proud Boys, Holocaust deniers, and white supremacists. Republican politicians, including recently-elected QAnon conspiracist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (opens in new tab), claim that Parler's ban from Apple, Google, and Amazon is another so-called attempt for Big Tech to censor conservatives on its platforms and "hurt another American private company." John Matze, who co-founded Parler alongside Jared Thomson and conservative donor Rebekah Mercer (opens in new tab), said (opens in new tab) this was "a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place." Meanwhile, users continue to threaten violence against politicians (opens in new tab), with further planning on the platform (opens in new tab) ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20.
While the future of Parler is unknown, Twitter remains top of mind for conservatives. It's possible that an increasing number of conservatives will either leave the platform to boycott the president's suspension, or remain on the site and complain that they're losing followers (opens in new tab), distracting from the events that occurred on January 6.
Imagine tweeting this in the wake of your former boss inciting a riot and attempted coup that left 5 dead including a police officer. https://t.co/WkjnllZsTaJanuary 10, 2021
This post will be updated as more information surfaces.
Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.
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