Parler is officially significantly harder to download if you don’t already have the social media network’s app on your phone already. After reportedly being threatened with removal from the Apple app store and getting pulled from Google’s Play store, Apple followed through on Saturday and removed the MAGA-friendly networking site.
The New York Times reported the news on Saturday, noting that Parler’s popularity briefly soared in the wake of Donald Trump’s ban on Twitter and several other QAnon and conspiracy-filled accounts.
By Saturday morning, Apple listed Parler as the No. 1 free app for its iPhones.
But hours later, Apple said it had removed Parler from its App Store. Google had made a similar move a day earlier. The companies both said that Parler had not sufficiently policed the conversation on its app, allowing too many posts that encouraged violence and crime.
“We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” Apple said in a statement late Saturday. “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety.”
Apple reportedly shared the message it sent Parler, in which the tech company claimed the site did not do enough to implement moderation for hate speech on the site. A slew of conservatives have organized and shared messages on Parler in recent months, including hate speech and calls for violence as Trump supporters have spiraled into election conspiracies in the months following his election loss.
Apple has banned Parler from the iOS App Store for hosting “threats of violence and illegal activity.”
Here’s the message Apple sent to Parler explaining the decision, which Apple has provided: pic.twitter.com/YpCQ6u0nt8
— Brian Fung (@b_fung) January 10, 2021
Earlier on Saturday it appeared that some popular messages from the site that explicitly called for violence had reportedly been removed, including one a conspiracy theorist who had been banned from Twitter wrote calling for an attack against vice president Mike Pence.
Lin Wood is directing people to shoot Mike Pence. pic.twitter.com/j6wHwT0ldL
— Parlertakes (@parlertakes) January 7, 2021
Amazon employees are also reportedly asking Amazon Web Services, which controls a large portion of cloud storage online, to cut ties with Parler as well.
Parler CEO responds to Amazon employees calling for the company to cut ties with Parler, which is hosted on Amazon’s cloud platform AWS. pic.twitter.com/awIMn8ZZMt
— Parlertakes (@parlertakes) January 9, 2021
Despite billing itself as an unmoderated forum for discussion, it’s clear the site will have to change significantly in order to regain distribution on the app stores, if that’s even possible in the wake of a MAGA riot that was planned and amplified, at least in part, on Parler. Without app store support the social media site will struggle to grow and, in the tech world, growth is essential to survival.
UPDATE: Buzzfeed reported Saturday that AWS will, indeed, stop hosting Parler, effectively taking the site down until it could find a new web host. Parler CEO John Matze shared in a message on the site Saturday that it would go offline on Sunday at midnight and may be unavailable for up to a week.
“There is the possibility Parlor will be off-line for up to a week AS WE REBUILD IT FROM SCRATCH.” pic.twitter.com/c7RwhKMQKa
— Brianna Wu (@BriannaWu) January 10, 2021