Internet giant Google has suspended U.S.-based microblogging platform Parler — where most of the supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump are shifting their base — from its app store, citing posts inciting violence and demanding “robust” moderation for “egregious” content from the social networking service.
Simultaneously, Apple also warned Parler on Friday that it will ban the service from its app store if it doesn’t start to moderate its content better.
The move by the two Silicon Valley companies came the day when Twitter permanently suspended Mr. Trump’s account due to “risk of further incitement of violence”.
“In order to protect user safety on Google Play, our longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like spots that incite violence. All developers agree to these terms and we have reminded Parler of this clear policy in recent months,” Google said in a statement.
“We recognise that there can be reasonable debate about content policies and that it can be difficult for apps to immediately remove all violative content, but for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content,” it said.
“In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app from the Play Store until it addresses these issues,” said Google, whose software powers Android phones.
Parler has a significant user base of Trump supporters and conservatives.
Apple in a statement said it has received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in Parler service, accusations that the app was used to plan, coordinate and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6 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,” the company said.
Parler’s CEO John Matze in a post challenged Apple’s position.
“Apparently they believe Parler is responsible for ALL user generated content on Parler. By the same logic, Apple must be responsible for ALL actions taken by their phones. Every car bomb, every illegal cell phone conversation, every illegal crime committed on an iPhone, Apple must also be responsible for,” he said.
“We will not cave to pressure from anti-competitive actors! We will and always have enforced our rules against violence and illegal activity. But we WONT cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech!” he said.