Apple has ordered Parler to tighten up its moderation tactics and wipe “objectionable content” from the platform within the next 24 hours or it will be removed from the App Store.
The decision comes a day after Parler’s CEO flaunted the platform’s hands-off approach to content moderation in the wake of premeditated mayhem at the U.S. Capitol, much of which has been linked to Parler. In an email sent by Apple to Parler this morning (Pacific Time) and obtained by Input, the company provided numerous examples of Parler users explicitly calling for violence and referenced CEO John Matze’s comment that he doesn’t “feel responsible for any of this and neither should the platform.”
Apple disagrees. “We want to be clear that Parler is in fact responsible for all the user generated content present on your service and for ensuring that this content meets App Store requirements for the safety and protection of our users,” the company said. “We won’t distribute apps that present dangerous and harmful content.”
“We have now rejected your app for the App Store Review Guidelines detailed below,” it added.
The email from Apple is included in its entirety below, as well as images the company included as examples:
We require your immediate attention regarding serious App Store guideline violations that we have found with your app, Parler.
We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property. The app also appears to continue to be used to plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities.
Our investigation has found that Parler is not effectively moderating and removing content that encourages illegal activity and poses a serious risk to the health and safety of users in direct violation of your own terms of service, found here: https://legal.parler.com/documents/Elaboration-on-Guidelines.pdf
Examples of these complaints can be viewed on these links:
If Parler continues to allow incitement and calls for violence, doesn’t that break your Terms of Service for apps? pic.twitter.com/CkXg99Trl7
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) January 7, 2021
So apparently Parler has plans for the 19th. ARE YOU PREPARED?? Because this cannot happen again pic.twitter.com/bJeh02Ml7N
— Patti H (@Lovedrea) January 7, 2021
— Swedenborg (@Wilmographer) January 6, 2021
— Pamela Grillo (@pjg0014) January 7, 2021
Content of this dangerous and harmful nature is not appropriate for the App Store. As you know from prior conversations with App Review, Apple requires apps with user-generated content to effectively moderate to ensure objectionable, potentially harmful content is filtered out. Content that threatens the well being of others or is intended to incite violence or other lawless acts has never been acceptable on the App Store.
Your CEO was quoted recently saying “But I don’t feel responsible for any of this and neither should the platform, considering we’re a neutral town square that just adheres to the law.” We want to be clear that Parler is in fact responsible for all the user generated content present on your service and for ensuring that this content meets App Store requirements for the safety and protection of our users. We won’t distribute apps that present dangerous and harmful content.
We have now rejected your app for the App Store Review Guidelines detailed below.
Guideline 1.1 – Safety – Objectionable Content
We found that your app includes content that some users may find upsetting, offensive, or otherwise objectionable. Specifically, we found direct threats of violence and calls to incite lawless action.
Guideline 1.2 – Safety – User Generated Content
Your app enables the display of user-generated content but does not have sufficient precautions in place to effectively manage objectionable content present in your app.
See the attached screenshots for more details.
Nothing is more important to the App Store than the safety of our users. You must resolve these issues immediately for your app to remain on the App Store.
Please remove all objectionable content from your app and submit your revised binary for review. Such content includes any content similar to the examples attached to this message, as well as any content referring to harm to people or attacks on government facilities now or at any future date. In addition, you must respond to this message with detailed information about how you intend to moderate and filter this content from your app, and what you will do to improve moderation and content filtering your service for this kind of objectionable content going forward.
To ensure there is no interruption of the availability of your app on the App Store, please submit an update and the requested moderation improvement plan within 24 hours of the date of this message. If we do not receive an update compliant with the App Store Review Guidelines and the requested moderation improvement plan in writing within 24 hours, your app will be removed from the App Store.
If you have any questions about this message, please reply and let us know.
App Review Board