Parler, a Twitter alternative that was once a beacon of hope for free speech in the censorship-ridden sphere of social media platforms, has finally given in to Big Tech demands.
Unfortunately, the outlet seems to have sacrificed its integrity in exchange for the almighty dollar by modifying its community guidelines to fit Apple’s anti-free speech standards.
Apple told Congress in a letter last week they will reinstate Parler on the app store, but only because the free speech platform caved to their company’s guidelines.
Congressman Ken Buck posted Apple’s letter to him and Senator Mike Lee, who wrote to Apple in March “demanding answers about why Apple removed Parler from the App Store,” on Twitter.
Calling it a “Huge win for free speech,” Rep. Buck proudly announced, “Parler will be reinstated on the App Store.”
On March 31, @SenMikeLee and I sent a letter demanding answers about why Apple removed Parler from the App Store.
🚨Today, we received a response: Parler will be reinstated on the App Store. Huge win for free speech. pic.twitter.com/FQBDSSSFGk
— Congressman Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) April 19, 2021
In the letter, Apple revealed after communicating with Parler “regarding failures in its content moderation efforts, as well as its desire stated at various times to not moderate content at all,” they have “engaged in substantial conversations” with the platform to bring it into compliance.
Specifically, Apple requested that Parler “remove specifically identified prohibited content” and “improve their content moderation practices to comply with the Guidelines”.
As a result of Parler’s eventual compliance with Apple’s proposed changes to their guidelines, Apple said their App Review Team “has informed Parler as of April 14, 2021 that its proposed updated app will be approved for reinstatement” as soon as the platform releases its updated app.
The decision comes three months after Parler was banned from the Apple App Store when they refused to ban Trump supporters and Right-wing groups following the Capitol riots in January.
Because Parler refused to censor Trump supporters during that time, Apple and Google banned them from their respective app stores and Amazon de-platformed them from their web hosting service.
The company was forced to go dark for more than a month before they could obtain new servers and a hosting service independent from Amazon. All because they refused to betray their users’ First Amendment right to free speech.
But, after a leadership shakeup and occasional reports that they may never get back online due to technical difficulties, Parler finally found a way to re-emerge on the internet—only to cave into Big Tech’s demands.
The formerly free speech platform even changed their community guidelines to clarify that they, as a private company, will act in the “spirit” of the First Amendment, but reserves the right to delete posts or users if absolutely necessary. Parler maintains they support free expression and dialogue, however, they make few promises when it comes to content moderation.
According to Parler’s current community guidelines as of February 15, “even when the law may not require us to flag or remove reported content, or to ban a user, we will nonetheless do so when we deem it necessary to prevent our services from being used by someone in the commission of a crime or civil tort,” especially, “when these are likely to interfere with our mission of providing a welcoming, nonpartisan Public Square.”
Parler’s odd decision to comply with Apple’s App Store is not sitting well with many conservative users who feel the platform has betrayed them. If they go through with the proposed changes, Parler may be the cause their own downfall.