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Apple lifts ban on social network Parler after it agrees to ‘content moderation’ but users worry ‘free speech’ site’s now neutered

Apple lifts ban on social network Parler after it agrees to ‘content moderation’ but users worry ‘free speech’ site’s now neutered

The self-proclaimed ‘free speech social network’ Parler will be allowed to return to Apple's App Store after it was previously banned for not censoring enough content and was also accused of allowing threats of violence.

In a Monday letter to Republicans Senator Mike Lee (Utah) and Representative Ken Buck (Colorado) – who had requested info on Parler's ban – Apple claimed that the app could now return to the store as it had “proposed updates to its app and the app’s content moderation practices.”

“Apple anticipates that the updated Parler app will become available immediately upon Parler releasing it,” the company continued. Apple said the decision was made after “substantial conversations” in an effort to “bring the Parler app into compliance” with app-store guidelines.

Parler was banned from most Big Tech platforms, including Amazon Web Services, after supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol on January 6.

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Though companies pointed to several Capitol stormers who had accounts on Parler as justification for the crackdown, the majority of the January 6 demonstrations were reportedly organized on more mainstream platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and conservatives argued that the Parler ban was politically motivated.

In its letter to Lee and Buck, Apple claimed Parler's app was removed from its App Store due to a number of posts made by users on the platform “that encouraged violence, denigrated various ethnic groups, races and religions, glorified Nazism, and called for violence.”

However, similar posts can be found on tech platforms that have not yet seen an App Store ban, including Twitter.

Though Rep. Buck called Apple’s response a “huge win for free speech,” many social media users were left wondering whether Parler’s reported content moderation concessions will impact its free-speech mission.

“How is that a win? Why is it Apple’s right to decide what speech can be in an app?” questioned one user, while another accused Apple of having “neutered the site.”

“An alternative to Twitter that’s exactly like Twitter is no alternative at all,” another person declared.

It is not yet clear exactly what content moderation changes Parler intends to make to its platform and the company has not publicly commented on Apple’s letter.

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