Apple will allow Parler back onto the App Store

Proposed updates to the app and moderation practices were sufficient for Apple.

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Parler could be returning to the App Store soon after Apple gave it the green light. Apple wrote in a letter to Congress that updates Parler proposed for better detection and moderation of hate speech and violent rhetoric were sufficient.

Timothy Powderly, Apple's senior director for government affairs in the Americas, wrote that since it removed Parler from the App Store in January, Apple had "engaged in substantial conversations" with the team behind the app to make it compliant with App Store rules.

"As a result of those conversations, Parler has proposed updates to its app and the app's content moderation practices," Powderly wrote of the decision, which was first reported by CNN. "The App Review Team has informed Parler as of April 14th, 2021, that its proposed updated app will be approved for reinstatement to the App Store. Apple anticipates that the updated Parler app will become immediately available upon Parler releasing it."

Apple sent the letter to Senator Mike Lee and Representative Ken Buck, who asked Apple on March 31st for details on why it booted out Parler. It said the app review team found "a significant number of posts on the Parler app that clearly violated Guideline 1.1.1. [on "Objectionable Content], including posts that encouraged violence, denigrated various ethnic groups, races and religions, glorified Nazism and called for violence against specific people."

On January 8th, Apple gave Parler 24 hours to respond with a sufficient plan to improve moderation on its platform. Parler didn't do that, and Apple removed the app.

Google pulled Parler from the Play Store at around the same time, and Amazon Web Services kicked the app off its servers after months of warnings over violent threats on the platform. Parler later sued Amazon. Apple said that it made its decision independently from Google and Amazon, and didn't discuss the issue with them.

Parler attempted to get back onto the App Store in March, but Apple still found that the service had “highly objectionable content.” The app bills itself as a "free speech" alternative to Twitter. It garnered popularity among the far-right and Donald Trump supporters before Apple and Google kicked it off their app stores in the wake of the January 6th insurrection on Capitol Hill.

Update (6:50 PM ET): In a statement, Parler CEO Mark Meckler said it would return to the iOS App Store during the week of April 26th, claiming that it "has and will always be a free and open forum where users could engage in the free exchange of ideas" and at the same time "We have worked to put in place systems that will better detect unlawful speech and allow users to filter content undesirable to them, while maintaining our strict prohibition against content moderation based on viewpoint."