It looks like Parler’s App Store exile will continue. Bloomberg reports that Apple recently rejected the app’s bid to get back onto iPhones, citing “highly objectionable content.”
Apple had originally kicked Parler out of the App Store in January, shortly after the riots at the U.S Capitol. Apple said at the time that the app needed to improve its content moderation and make a bigger effort to keep dangerous and hateful content off its platform. The company said the suspension would be in place “until we receive an update that is compliant with the App Store Review Guidelines and you have demonstrated your ability to effectively moderate and filter the dangerous and harmful content on your service.”
According to Bloomberg, Apple rejected Parler's latest bid to rejoin the App Store late last month. Apple reportedly told Parler that the latest iteration of its policies were not “sufficient to comply with App Store Review guidelines.”
At issue is not just Parler’s policies, but the fact that the app is still filled with the kind of “highly objectionable content” Apple wanted it to address. ““n fact, simple searches reveal highly objectionable content, including easily identified offensive uses of derogatory terms regarding race, religion and sexual orientation, as well as Nazi symbols,” Apple told Parler.
Parler didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but delivered a lengthy statement later, reiterating its mission "to provide a welcoming, nonpartisan social media platform which allows users to exercise their freedoms of speech, thought, and association, while also respecting their privacy."
According to Parler, "We have since engaged Apple to show them how we’ve incorporated a combination of algorithmic filters and human review to detect and remove content that threatens or incites violence. We’ve also explained our new feature which empowers individual users with the option to filter out personal attacks based on immutable and irrelevant characteristics such as race, sex, sexual orientation, or religion.... Parler expects and hopes to keep working with Apple to return to the App Store."
The “free speech” app is still trying to find a path forward after being kicked out of Apple and Google’s app stores and being cut off from Amazon Web Services. Parler’s website is now back up and running, but its future remains uncertain. CEO John Matze was fired in February, and Bloomberg now reports seven other staffers, including all its iOS developers, were also let go.
Update 3/11/21 8:45AM ET: Added Parler's response to Apple's decision.