Apple denied Parler re-entry to the company’s App Store, after the controversial conservative-attracting social media app was ousted from the platform in January following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to documents cited by Bloomberg.
“After having reviewed the new information, we do not believe these changes are sufficient to comply with App Store Review guidelines,” Apple wrote to Parler’s chief policy officer on Feb. 25, according to Bloomberg. “There is no place for hateful, racist, discriminatory content on the App Store.”
Apple suspended Parler from its platform in January because of the app’s lack of moderation and threats of violence. The app was also removed from Amazon’s web hosting services that same month.
Apple and Amazon gave Parler an opportunity to change its content moderation policy. But on Feb. 15, Parler relaunched, this time on its own platform, which allowed it to sidestep moderation regulations.
With the launch, the app introduced new community guidelines, but those were inadequate for the App Store’s regulations - namely because of "easily identifiable" disparaging terms and symbols on the platform.
“In fact, simple searches reveal highly objectionable content, including easily identified offensive uses of derogatory terms regarding race, religion and sexual orientation, as well as Nazi symbols,” Apple wrote to Parler in a letter, according to Bloomberg. “For these reasons your app cannot be returned to the App Store for distribution until it complies with the guidelines.”
Parler in a statement on Thursday said that it expects and hopes to keep working with Apple to return to the App Store.
"We’re optimistic that Apple will continue to differentiate itself from other ‘Big Tech’ companies by supporting its customers’ choice to ‘think different’—to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms of thought, speech, and association—while using Apple products,” it added.
On Wednesday, Parler reportedly cut three of its remaining iOS developers, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. Overall, the company removed seven workers, the majority of whom were contractors, while other staff worked on Parler TV and quality assurance.
Parler’s community guidelines were written by Chief Policy Amy Peikoff, Bloomberg reported citing two people familiar with the matter.
Parler surged in popularity among conservative users after the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, branding itself as a pro-free speech platform following moves by Twitter to block certain users, including former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE, which banned him permanently.
Apple did not return a request for comment.
--Updated at 9:21 a.m.