Google suspends Parler from app store after deadly Capitol violence
Google has pulled Parler, a social media app for conservatives and far-right extremists, from its app store for not taking stronger action to remove posts that seek "to incite ongoing violence" in the U.S.
Driving the news: For weeks prior to Wednesday's deadly siege on the Capitol, far-right Trump supporters discussed the idea of a violent protest in D.C. on various social media and chat platforms, including Parler.
What they're saying: “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 posts that incite violence," a Google spokesperson said.
- "All developers agree to these terms and we have reminded Parler of this clear policy in recent months," the spokesperson added.
- "We recognize 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."
- "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.”
The big picture: Earlier Friday, Apple sent a letter to Parler executives, demanding the app submit a “moderation improvement plan” within 24 hours or face removal from the app store.
- Apple and Google run the two biggest app stores and are wielding serious power by restricting Parler, where many right-wing figures have flocked after being banned from Facebook and Twitter.
- Parler is branded as a free speech alternative and practices looser moderation, allowing posts that include conspiracy theories, threats and hate speech, among other things, to remain on the platform.
Parler CEO John Matze has not commented publicly on Google's move, but did respond to Apple's threats on the app Friday, saying the company would "not cave to pressure from anti-competitive actors!"
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Editor's note: This article has been updated with additional information throughout.