Apple, Amazon Move to Marginalize Parler -- 3rd Update
By Keach Hagey and Tim Higgins
Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. halted support for Parler,
dealing a major blow to a social-media service that has soared in
popularity among conservatives and escalating a campaign by tech
giants to regulate content they see as dangerous in the wake of the
mob attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Amazon said Saturday it would no longer provide cloud-computing
services to Parler, and Apple suspended the company's app from the
App Store. Both companies said Parler hasn't demonstrated in recent
conversations that it can adequately address threats of violence on
"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," Apple said in a
statement. "Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the
proliferation of these threats to people's safety."
The announcements from Amazon and Apple come a day after
Alphabet Inc.'s Google suspended Parler from its Play Store app
marketplace, citing violations of requirements for sufficient
moderation of content for apps it distributes. The move from Google
didn't affect Parler's availability on the internet or in other
Android app stores, Google said.
Interest in Parler has risen since November as larger
social-network operators such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc.
have become more aggressive in policing content. On Friday, Twitter
banned President Trump's personal account, sparking criticism from
conservatives online who felt the effort was biased against
Parler has positioned itself as an alternative to larger
platforms. Its rules don't prohibit hate speech and false
information while banning spam, threats of violence and other
Parler executives told The Wall Street Journal it has been
working to bolster its content-moderation efforts and sharing such
information with large tech companies concerned about its
In the past few days, Parler doubled its team of volunteer
moderators -- called "jurors" -- to more than a thousand and
instructed them to search "hot" hashtags for incitement, a more
proactive approach than what was used previously, said Jeffrey
Wernick, Parler's operating chief. The company had also instructed
its jurors to hunt down any content suggesting violence within the
comment sections of its more highly trafficked sections, and
planned to hire employees to bolster these efforts, according to
Amy Peikoff, chief policy officer of Parler.
However, Parler executives said, the tech companies said those
efforts haven't gone far enough. Apple told the company it found
its response insufficient, according to the latest app notice,
saying that Parler had to demonstrate the "ability to effectively
moderate and filter the dangerous and harmful content" on the
"This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill
competition in the market place," Chief Executive John Matze said
in a Saturday post on Parler. "We were too successful too fast. You
can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue, but
don't count us out."
While curbs on Parler implemented by Google and Apple would
affect app usage, Amazon's announcement has far greater import,
effectively taking Parler's website offline and no longer storing
Parler's data. In Apple's case, the App Store is the only means to
download mobile apps on Apple devices and Parler's removal means
the app can't be downloaded on devices where it isn't already
present or updated on devices where it is.
Amazon, the world's largest cloud-computing company, notified
Parler on Saturday that it would suspend the company's account,
citing a violation of its terms of service. Amazon said in a letter
to Parler it had seen a steady increase in violent content on the
site and said Parler's efforts to remove them were inadequate. The
notice to Parler was earlier reported by BuzzFeed.
Amazon said it planned to suspend Parler's account on Sunday at
11:59 p.m. Pacific time, though it would preserve the company's
data and aid in the migration of data to different servers.
The latest decisions come as big tech companies are under
scrutiny in Washington for the power they hold over their digital
worlds. Apple, Google and Amazon have been accused by some
lawmakers of anticompetitive behavior in how they operate. Apple,
Amazon and Google have denied such claims.
Parler experienced a huge surge of interest on Friday, the day
Apple and Google made moves to limit its reach, driving it to the
top spot on Apple's App Store. Mr. Wernick said this surge in
traffic overloaded the company's servers and made it impossible for
them to respond to alerts about problematic content fast
"They picked a time yesterday when we had a huge spurt and gave
us no time to adequately respond to this," said Mr. Wernick. "At
this point, it seems like bad faith to me."
--Aaron Tilley contributed to this article.
Write to Keach Hagey at email@example.com and Tim Higgins at
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 10, 2021 00:00 ET (05:00 GMT)
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