Amazon, Apple, and Google have all dropped Parler from their respective app stores. The American alt-tech microblogging and social networking service marketed itself as a safe space for free speech. John Matze, Jr. and Jared Thomson founded Parler in 2018 as an unbiased alternative to mainstream social networks like Twitter and Facebook, which attracted a lot of users in a short amount of time. They received funding from conservative investor Rebekah Mercer. However, the future of the platform is now uncertain after the biggest app stores in the world decided to drop it.
The news comes after Parler users allegedly helped to stoke fear and violence ahead of the insurrection at the Capitol building last Wednesday, which left five people dead, including police Officer Brian D. Sicknick. Parler became one of the fastest growing platforms in history after Facebook and Twitter started to censor President Donald Trump and his claims about the 2020 Presidential Election, along with the Senate runoff race in Atlanta. Trump has been accused of spreading misinformation on his Twitter account, and he has since been permanently banned. Facebook has also banned the President, though it's unclear for how long.
Over the weekend, Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores because they claim that there was no moderator. Users were able to post whatever they wanted, which often involved violence and crime towards Democratic politicians. Amazon was quick to follow suit. "Recently, we've seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms. It's clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service," reads an email from Amazon to Parler.
Apple gave Parler 24 hours to remove posts that are "planning of illegal and dangerous activities" after seeing more threats for another possible uprising before the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden. "This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place," wrote John Matze, Jr. on Parler. "We were too successful too fast." Matze Jr. went on to add that the social media platform "will be unavailable on the internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch." Apple had this to say about the situation.
"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. Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people's safety. We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues."
Before everything shut down on Parler, the mood shifted to outrage. Some even discussed violence against Amazon. "It would be a pity if someone with explosives training were to pay a visit to some AWS data centers," said one user. The execution of Vice President Mike Pence and the conspiracy theory that left-wing antifa activists were behind the Capitol violence are other popular posts on Parler. The Apple and Google bans definitely hurt Parler, the Amazon situation crippled the platform, which is why users are so angry. Parler was hosted on the Amazon Web Services. Posts on the service often contain far-right content, antisemitism, and conspiracy theories such as QAnon. For now, it looks like it might be a while before Parler is up and running again. The New York Times was one of the first outlets to report on Amazon, Google, and Apple removing Parler from its app stores.