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Apple has warned alt-right social networking app Parler that unless it moderates and removes content that encourages illegal activity, it could be banned from the App Store.
Parler executives have 24 hours to respond with a moderation improvement plan, according to a copy of Apple’s email provided to Buzzfeed.
“We require your immediate attention regarding serious App Store guideline violations that we have found with your app, Parler,” Apple’s letter says. “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. The app also appears to continue to be used to plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities.”
This is not a shock to anyone who follows the Parler Watch group on Reddit.
Screenshots of Parler messages advocating fighting, preparing weapons, “hunting down cowards” and traitors like “RINOS, Dems, and Tech Execs” are commonplace, like this one from the past day.
Interestingly, as Apple’s letter cites, Parler’s own terms of service explicitly condemn language like this, in section six about “Threats of Violence, Advocacy of Imminent Lawless Action, Threats to Dox, Bribery or Criminal Solicitation.”
The problem is that Parler moderation is haphazard at best and non-existent at worse.
“Our investigation has found that Parler is not effectively moderating and removing content that encourages illegal activity and poses a serious risk to the health and safety of users in direct violation of your own terms of service,” Apple’s letter says. “Content of this dangerous and harmful nature is not appropriate for the App Store. As you know from prior conversations with App Review, Apple requires apps with user generated content to effectively moderate to ensure objectionable, potentially harmful content is filtered out….