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Parler is Returning to Apple App Store

Apple is allowing the controversial far-right supported social media app Parler, back onto its App Store

The app was previously pulled from major app stores following the deadly US Capitol riots on 6 January, as the app had been found to be featuring calls for violence and other illegal activity. The app later found its way back onto the web after just a month and there was no set date for it to come back to app stores, despite not being a permanent ban. Recent news from Apple stated that Parler had made updates to its app and content moderation policy that would lead to it being reinstated, via a letter to two Republican lawmakers on Monday. The app is much like twitter in its design, although it heavily brands itself as a free-speech alternative, and is much favoured by right-wing conservatives and Trump supporters in the US, as many have said that major social media platforms do not allow them the 'free-speech' that they seek.

Parler was banned from both Google and Apple's app stores, Amazon also pulled its web-hosting service days after the riots for similar reasons. Parler's CEO, Mark Meckler previously said that the decision by Big Tech to cut ties with Parler had been taken "by those who desire to silence tens of millions of Americans". Apple has since approved Parler's return to their app store following improvements the social media company claim to have made to better moderate hate speech and incitement. This is according to the letter sent by Apple addressed to Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Ken Buck, obtained by CNN. The letter explained that since the apps removal from the Apple App Store in January for violations of their policies, Parler "has proposed updates to its app and the app's content moderation practices." all that is left for the app to be back on the iOS App Store is for Parler to make the first move "Apple anticipates that the updated Parler app will become available immediately upon Parler releasing it," Apple's letter said.

Apple previously stated that it did not coordinate with any other companies to remove Parler, “Apple made an independent decision to remove Parler for non-compliance with the guidelines, and it did not coordinate or otherwise consult with Google or Amazon with respect to that decision,” Tim Powderly, VP of Public Policy and Government Affairs wrote in the letter. While Apple declined to comment on the situation, Parler said in a statement on Monday evening, that it planned to relaunch on Apple's app store the week of April 26. Representative Ken Buck, one of whom the letter was addressed to, said in a tweet that the decision was a “huge win for free speech.”, although the Apple version of Parler will block some posts that are permitted on Parler more generally, while those posts will remain accessible on Parler for Android and on the web, Parler said.

Parler interim CEO Mark Meckler said in a statement that the company 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,”. Apple's director of government affairs, Timothy Powderly, has previously said that Parler had violated its guidelines, partly as a result of hosting a platform that allowed posts which "encouraged violence, denigrated various ethnic groups, races and religions", and went on to say the posts featured on the app were "glorified Nazism". But since the removal from the App Store, Powderly says Parler has worked to comply with its rules.

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