Updated Jan 10, 2021 - Technology

Amazon and Apple pull the plug on Parler

A general view of the the Parler app icon displayed on an iPhone on January 9, 2021 in London, England.
Photo: Hollie Adams/Getty Images

Amazon has told Parler, a social media app that's become popular among conservatives and far-right extremists, that it would be cut off from its Amazon Web Services hosting by midnight Pacific Time on Sunday, BuzzFeed first reported and Amazon confirmed to Axios.

Driving the news: Earlier Saturday, Apple said it had suspended Parler from its App Store. Both companies cited concerns over threats of violence and inadequate content moderation on the service.

What they're saying: "Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety," an Apple spokesperson told Axios in an email.

Why it matters: Parler was widely touted as one of the networks to which President Trump might go after being banned from Twitter and Facebook.

  • Apple's move means iPhone users won't be able to download Parler's app, but could continue to access it on any mobile or desktop device via its website.
  • Amazon's move is even graver, since Parler runs on Amazon Web Services' cloud computing platform — and losing that shuts the whole service down.
  • Parler's CEO said it might be offline for as long as a week while it "rebuilds from scratch."

Of note: Apple told Parler on Friday it had received several complaints that the app had been used to help plan and facilitate last Wednesday's deadly siege on the Capitol by Trump supporters.

  • It gave Parler a day to present a plan to better moderate harmful content or else it would be removed from the App Store. Parler will be able to return to the App Store if it comes up with such a plan, Apple said.

Yes, but: That's unlikely to happen. Parler's whole pitch to users is that it promotes free speech and won't crack down on politically objectionable content.

Our thought bubble: These moves follow an earlier one by Google Play suspending Parler without any grace period.

  • As the app gatekeepers flex substantial power, they’re also keeping an eye on what each other is doing.

Between the lines: Despite being spiked from both major mobile app stores, Parler remains accessible on any mobile or desktop device via its website.

For the record: Parler was the No. 1 app in Apple's App Store this weekend prior to the tech giant suspending the service.

  • New York Times journalist Jack Nicas first reported news of Apple's move.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout and clarified the timing by which Parler will lose its Amazon hosting.

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