Parler, the social media app, is getting caught up in the fallout from the events on January 6th in Washington D.C. as well as the recent battle between Donald Trump and Twitter. On Saturday, in the wake of big news on that platform, the Parler app was removed from the Google Play store with the word it could be removed from the Apple Store as well.
The removal of Parler from various app stores comes on the heels of Donald Trump’s suspension from Twitter Saturday evening. In that dust-up, Twitter took the action to remove Trump’s access and take down all previous tweets. As of this writing, it remained suspended with no timeline or inclination there would be a reactivation. This led to Trump saying he would continue communications on Parler under his account there.
This high-profile move apparently led Google and Apple to continue reviewing their app policies. According to Google’s communications with the app, Parler was in violation of certain terms and conditions around user-generated content. For an app to be available in the Play Store, it must meet guidelines about inciting violence. Google apparently felt content being posted on Parler wasn’t in compliance and hadn’t put in the requisite effort to limit and remove violent content.
Meanwhile, Apple didn’t take immediate action to remove Parler from the App Store. Rather they gave the platform 24 hours to moderate conversations and implement a plan of action around future postings that would fall outside Apple’s terms and conditions. It’s unclear, at this point, if Parler had taken those necessary steps.
According to Google, they claimed that Parler was specifically used to plan and coordinate certain events of January 6th in Washington D.C. It was then that a group of Trump supporters gathered outside and ultimately entered the U.S. Capitol building to protest the results of the Electoral College vote certification for the U.S. Presidential election. When the dust had settled around that protest, four people were dead and many others injured.
In the wake of those events, Twitter took the unprecedented action of suspending Trump’s account claiming it was being used to incite violence. Attempts to subvert and evade the suspension on Twitter were squashed with a number of different accounts in the President’s control also being limited in their ability to tweet.
Parler touts itself as a “free speech” app and has gained significant popularity over the last year. With more and more strife between certain right-wing groups and traditional social media apps like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, Parler marketed itself as a place where users could post freely without concerns about having content limited or taken down.
Parler has seen massive growth over the course of 2020. It opened the year with fewer than one million active users. But over the course of the summer and leading into November’s Presidential Election, those numbers rose considerably to an estimated eight million accounts.
Whether Parler will ultimately pivot some of their policies about user content in wake of Google and Apple’s decision is unclear. Being available in those marketplaces is critical for an app’s viability and growth. Time will tell if they choose to amend some of their policies to become available again or choose to stay the course with their original plans.