Parler app removed from Google Play Store for lack of content moderation

Parler app icon

  • Parler, a social media app for free speech, has been removed from the Google Play Store.
  • In a statement, Google said Parler had not done enough to “implement robust moderation for monstrous content”.
  • Apple has also warned Parler to use better moderation, otherwise the iOS app will be removed from the Apple App Store.

Parler, the social media app that focuses on conservative topics and content, has removed its app from the Google Play Store. Parler was founded in 2018 and has grown in popularity with US Conservatives in recent months.

After a mob sacked the US capital in Washington DC on Wednesday, it was found that Parler was being used by some right-wing groups and individuals to promote participation in the mob and advocate violence during the event. Late on Friday night, Google decided that this was enough to remove the Parler app from the Play Store.

In an email statement from Google as posted by XDA developerthe company stated:

To help keep users safe on Google Play, our long-standing guidelines require that apps that display user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement measures that remove monstrous content such as violent posts. All developers agree to these terms and we have reminded Parler of this clear policy over the past few months.

We understand that the Parler app will continue to publish posts that are believed to lead to ongoing violence in the United States. We understand that there can be a reasonable debate about content policies and that it can be difficult for apps to remove all violent content immediately, but for us to distribute an app on Google Play, apps need robust moderation for monstrous content to implement. Given this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app’s listings on the Play Store until these issues are resolved.

In addition to the suspension of Google Play, Buzzfeed reported that it received an email from Apple to Parler saying it could remove its iOS app from the App Store later on Saturday. The email stated that Apple had received a number of complaints that the app was “used to plan, coordinate and facilitate illegal activities in Washington DC.”

Buzzfeed John Matze, CEO of Parler, responded to these messages, partially declaring: “We will and have always enforced our rules against violence and illegal activities. But we are not going to give in to politically motivated corporations and authoritarians who hate free speech! “

Parler can still be accessed via a web browser. Even if the Android Parler app has been removed from Google Play, it can still be downloaded from the site on smartphones.

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