Last weekend, Big tech firms began to cut ties with Parler, the social media company favored by President Donald Trump’s supporters. First, Google removed the app from the Google Play Store, followed by Apple from its App Store. Then, Amazon dropped Parler from its roster of Amazon Web Services clients. Without a storefront for its app downloads, and now with servers, Parler is in danger of shutting down.
Google, Apple Removes Parler
Last week, both Google and Apple removed the app from their stores, which effectively prevents Parler from getting any new members. Apple owns and operates the exclusive operating system for all iPhone, iPad, and Mac products. The App store remains the only official gateway to getting Parler to work. This means that apps such as Parler need to stay visible in the App store to gain new subscribers. Meanwhile, the Google Play Store is the App store equivalent to all Android phones, which holds around 74% of the total mobile market. Together, Apple and Android users collectively own more than 99% of the mobile OS market.
Apple and Google removed the app from their stores as a response to Parler’s alleged unwillingness to police hate speech and threats of violence among its members. Apple gave Parler 24 hours notice last Friday Apple to moderate its contents or else face a delisting. The company appeared to take down some posts, but Apple cut Parler off anyway. In a statement, Apple said “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. Earlier, Google cut off the platform from its Play Store, but users can still download and install the site from the Parler site directly. However, Parler will need to resolve its web server requirements first after being cut off by Amazon.
Parler CEO John Matze said Sunday that virtually all of its business partners dropped Parler that day. On Fox News, he said, “Every vendor from text message services to email providers to our lawyers all ditched us too on the same day.” The bans will keep Parler offline for a while. Eventually, the collective effect of app store bans and no server can put the company out of business. He said he doesn’t understand why Parler became a target. In an earlier interview, Matze said he didn’t “feel responsible for [the riots] and neither should the platform, considering we’re a neutral town square that just adheres to the law.”
Matze said that the issues hounding Parler are “an assault on everybody.” He said “They all work together to make sure at the same time we would lose access to not only our apps, but they’re actually shutting all of our servers off tonight, off the internet. They made an attempt to not only kill the app but to actually destroy the entire company.” In addition, he said it’s not just Apple, Google, and Amazon. “Every vendor from text message services to email providers to our lawyers all ditched us too on the same day,” he said. “Amazon, Google, and Apple purposefully did this as a coordinated effort knowing our options would be limited and knowing this would inflict the most damage right as President Trump was banned from the tech companies,” Matze added.
Responsible for the Riots
Matze said Parler is getting unfair treatment. He said that big tech is “trying to falsely claim that we’re somehow responsible for the events that occurred on the 6th,” he said, referring to the date of the Capitol building riots. “It would put anybody out of business,” he said of the tech bans. “This thing could destroy anybody. We’re going to try our best to get back online as quickly as possible. But we’re having a lot of trouble because every vendor we talk to says they won’t work with us. Because if Apple doesn’t approve and Google doesn’t approve, they won’t.”
Meanwhile, Parler executives agreed that the tech companies’ decisions may be politically motivated or anticompetitive. Jeffrey Wernick, COO of Parler, blamed the existing cancel culture at major tech companies. He advises other platforms not to try to compete with the big tech. “If you raise money and get investors and end up like Parler, what’s the point?” he said. Matze said Parler is down but not out. “This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place. We were too successful too fast. You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue, but don’t count us out.”
In addition, Matze noted that “Big tech really wants to kill competition.” For example, he said the phrase “Hang Mike Pence” trended on Twitter. “I have seen no evidence Apple is going after them,” Matze said. “This would appear to be an unfair double standard as every other social media site has the same issues, arguably on a worse scale.”
Why Cut Ties With Parler?
Big Tech companies cut ties with Parler over concerns of growing threats of violence among its posters. They demand more accountability from the company to moderate its members’ contents to prevent further tensions. However, the company’s main selling point is exactly that: minimal moderation and unfiltered speech. This is what made them a popular social media alternative in the first place.
Watch the FoxNews report where Parler Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff discusses a potential ban for Parler:
Do you agree with Parler that this is a free speech issue? And, do you also agree that Parler represented competition with Big Tech? Or, do you believe that Parler should apply caution at this point? Let us know what you think by commenting below.