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Apple tells GOP lawmakers Parler is approved to come back to its app store


'Huge win for free speech'

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Apple will allow Parler, the pro-free speech alternative social media app favored by conservatives and Trump supporters, back on to its iOS app store, the tech giant told Republican lawmakers Monday.

Parler was kicked off the iOS Store in the days following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol after Apple accused the company of failing to moderate violent content on its platform. Until now, Parler users have been unable to download the app on iOS devices. Apple had said Parler would not be allowed back in its store until the company made changes to comply with the App Store Review guidelines.

"There is no place for hateful, racist, discriminatory content on the App Store," Apple reportedly told Parler last month.

But in a letter responding to an inquiry from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) about Apple's actions toward Parler, Apple Senior Director of Government Affairs for the Americas Timothy Powderly said his company has been "engaged in substantial conversation" with Parler about bringing the app into compliance with its guidelines.

"As a result of those conversations, Parler has proposed updates to its app and the app's content moderation practices, and the App Review Team has informed Parler as of April 14, 2021 that its proposed update app will be approved for reinstatement to the App Store," Powderly wrote.

He added that Apple expects the updated Parler app to become available as soon as Parler releases it.

Rep. Buck tweeted that the reinstatement of Parler's app is a "huge win for free speech."

He also said it's "time for Google and Amazon to follow Apple's lead. Stop the censorship."

Around the same time Parler was kicked off the Apple App Store in January, Google dropped the app from its store and Amazon Web Services booted Parler from its web hosting services, effectively taking the website off the internet and forcing Parler to search for a new host.

Politico reported that Google sent a letter to Congress on Friday telling lawmakers that Parler is still not in compliance with its content moderation rules.

"Parler's app has not yet complied with those policies, and that is why it remains suspended," said Mark Isakowitz, Google vice president of government affairs and public policy.

A spokesman for Google told Politico that Parler's app will be welcomed back on the Google Play store "once it submits an app that complies with our policies."

There is no word on whether Amazon will allow Parler to return to its web services. In March, Parler filed a lawsuit against Amazon in the federal court for the Western District of Washington alleging defamation and breach of contract by Amazon.

A representative for Amazon said last March that Parler's lawsuit was meritless and that it was clearly demonstrable that content on Parler "encouraged or incited violence against others" in violation of Amazon's terms of service.

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