Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Apple and Amazon withdraw Parler over accusations the platform helped incite attacks on Capitol Hill

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Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are withdrawing Parler from their services, as part of a growing backlash after the social media network was among those used to stage Wednesday’s riots on Capitol Hill.

Apple has removed Parler from its App Store, while Amazon’s cloud unit decided to stop hosting the social media company from Sunday night. They joined Alphabet Google Inc., which removed the app from its Google Play Store on Friday, saying it created a “permanent and urgent threat to public safety.”

Speak, which is popular with extremist groups looking for an alternative to more traditional social media sites, has come under fire since the Capitol was taken over by a pro-Trump mob. The tech companies’ move will let Parler end the weekend without easy access to virtually every smartphone user in the world and scrambling to find a new company to host its services.

Apple’s move came a day after the Cupertino, Calif.-Based tech giant threatened to take down the app, telling developers at Talking Friday they had 24 hours to deliver. Apple with a service moderation and filtering plan.

A letter provided by Apple to Parler says the social media company has offered to make changes in order to stay on the App Store. Parler told Apple that it has “been taking this content very seriously for weeks,” that it will implement a moderation plan “for now” and that it will establish a temporary task force, according to the report. letter.

Apple dismissed these efforts as a solution in its explanation for the removal of the app. “We continued to find direct threats of violence and calls to incite lawless action,” Apple wrote to Speak on Saturday, adding that the measures were “inadequate to combat the proliferation of dangerous and objectionable content on your app. “

Encourage violence

Also on Saturday, Amazon Web Services wrote to Parler about its decision to suspend its AWS account, according to a letter obtained by Bloomberg. The largest cloud computing provider said it had informed the social media company of 98 cases of posts inciting violence in recent weeks and that Parler’s plans to moderate its content were insufficient.

“We cannot provide services to a client who is unable to identify and effectively remove content that encourages or incites violence against others,” according to the letter, signed by the Trust and Security team of ‘AWS and addressed to Talking Policy Director Amy Peikoff.

BuzzFeed News reported on Amazon’s plans earlier. An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment.

Apple’s deletion also means Talking will stay out of the App Store on iPhone, iPad, and other devices until it is able to show its “ability to effectively moderate and filter out.” dangerous and harmful content of your service, ”Apple added.

Apple’s decision to remove the app from its store will not remove versions of Parler already installed on Apple devices. However, Amazon’s decision means the app won’t be functional unless Parler finds a replacement web host. Parler CEO John Matze said his services could be affected for up to a week.

Apple’s decision arguably has more of an impact than Google’s, as Android allows apps to be installed through means other than its Google Play Store, while the iPhone and iPad are much more restrictive.

‘Coordinated attack’

On its App Store page, Parler described itself as a “free expression, free social media focused on protecting user rights.” The service has gained popularity with extremists like Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. clamps down on users who encourage violence. Matze said in a TalkPublishthat most of its users are “non-violent people who want to share their opinions”.

“We will do our best to switch to a new supplier now as we have a lot of competition for our business, but Amazon, Google and Apple have deliberately done this as part of a coordinated effort knowing our options would be limited.” , did he declare. “This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill the competition in the market.”

Before its deletion on Saturday, Parler climbed to the top of Apple’s App Store rankings, becoming the store’s most downloaded free app. Parler also ranked 18th among free apps on Apple’s App Store in the past 90 days, according to data from Apptopia.

Speak was “used to plan, coordinate and facilitate illegal activity in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021, which resulted in (among other things) loss of life, numerous injuries and destruction of property,” Apple said in Friday. letter to the developers of Talking when he threatened to remove the application.

– With the help of Max Zimmerman.

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