- After Google announced it was banning Parler, a social media network, from its app store for inciting violence, CEO John Matze said the ban was “a horrible way to handle this.”
- “If they actually cared, they would try to help. Not dump the app and send a break up public statement. What a horrible way to handle this,” Matze wrote on Friday.
- A Google spokesperson told Insider: “In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app’s listings from the Play Store until it addresses these issues.”
- Matze responded to Apple’s request for updates by saying: “Apparently they know what is best for you by telling you which apps you may and may not use.”
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After Google announced it was banning Parler, an alternative social media network, from its app store for inciting violence in Washington, CEO John Matze late Friday said the ban was “a horrible way to handle this.”
“Guess they arnt [sic] really concerned about the ‘violence’ that is against our rules anyway,” Matze posted on Parler. “If they actually cared, they would try to help. Not dump the app and send a break up public statement. What a horrible way to handle this.”
He said Google didn’t send its full complaint to Parler.
Apple and Google were both seeking updates to Parler’s moderation policies. Google banned it on Friday, while Apple was waiting 24 hours for updates.
Favoured by alt-right and conservative voices, the app surged to the top of App Store download lists in recent months, as Twitter and Facebook pushed back against harsh rhetoric by banning and suspending accounts. As of Saturday morning, more than 92,000 Parler posts used the hashtag #twexit. The company says it’s in favour of completely free speech.
As violent mobs ransacked the hallways of Congress on Wednesday, a chorus of Parler users called for violence. Several people died during the siege on the Capitol. Afterward, conspiracy theories about the riots spread quickly on the app.
But Parler wasn’t responsible, Matze said. “Apparently they believe Parler is responsible for ALL user generated content on Parler,” he wrote in a Friday post.
A Google spokesperson told Insider: “In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app’s listings from the Play Store until it addresses these issues.”
Members of Congress called for more answers about possible threats from Parler, along with Gab, an alternative.
“Several threads on mainstream platforms like Reddit and Twitter and alternative platforms friendlier to those on the far-right like Gab and Parler, contained content for weeks that specifically alluded to planning the violence that took place on January 6,” said Rep. Jennifer Wexton, in a letter to FBI and DHS officials.
On Twitter, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for Apple and Google to take action against the apps.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 8, 2021
Matze called the congresswoman hypocritical, saying she’d encouraged rioting from left-leaning protestors in the past.
He posted a screenshot of an Apple App Store Review, displaying comments from Apple. The company asked for “immediate attention regarding serious App Store guideline violations,” saying that the app had incited violence and lawlessness.
According the screenshot, Apple’s representative wrote: “Your CEO was quoted recently saying ‘But I don’t feel responsible for any of this and neither should the platform, considering we’re a neutral town square that just adheres to the law.’ We want to be clear that Parler is in fact responsible for all the user generated content present on your service and for ensuring that this content meets App Store requirements for the safety and protection of our users. We won’t distribute apps that present dangerous and harmful content.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Matze said: “Apparently they know what is best for you by telling you which apps you may and may not use.”
Parler also experienced outages in the days after the US Capitol surge.