Google removes Parler from app store just as Trump reportedly joins controversial platform; Apple may follow suit
Conservative voices lashed out at the tech giants after the president reportedly shifted to the social media platform following a Twitter ban
President Donald Trump -- who made Twitter his favorite medium to communicate with his supporters and rile up the opposition over the last four years -- was on Friday, January 8, permanently banned by the social media giant. The reason? It said he could pose “risk of further incitement of violence”. The outgoing commander-in-chief, however, has reportedly shifted to Parler, another social media platform seen as an alternative to Twitter and Facebook and a favorite with conservatives. However, Google has now removed Parler from the Google Play Store in a huge blow to the platform.
Fox News host Sean Hannity, a known Trump sympathizer, said on Thursday, January 7, that Trump has an account on Parler. He said Trump had signed up to Parler during a segment that also featured former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders besides right-wing commentator and radio host Dan Bongino who announced last June about taking an ownership stake in the same social media platform. “I saw that the president had joined it. At least there is a place, it's like Twitter, it's called Parler, I have an account there... good for you because the president joined, because they are censoring him and Dan Scavino and everybody else,” Hannity said.
Scores of conservatives who are disappointed with the ‘censorship’ on Twitter have joined Parler in recent times. But Parler also reportedly faced backlash. Following reports that Trump has joined it, Apple threatened the social media platform with a ban if it did not bring strict censorship policies, something the conservatives have condemned in return. "Apple is currently threatening Parler, the free speech alternative to Twitter unless they enact Draconian policies demanded by the Big Tech oligarchs," reported far-right website The Gateway Pundit.
Parler CEO slams Twitter, FB censorship
Parler CEO John Matze spoke about his platform’s rapid growth and slammed the censorship moves taken by the likes of Twitter and Facebook. Matze was disappointed with Twitter blocking Trump saying “it must not like democracy”. He made the remark on Thursday in response to Trump’s daughter Tiffany who shared a statement released by her father that pledged an “orderly transition” to President-elect Joe Biden in just over a week. The day before, Matze slammed Twitter’s temporary blocking of Trump in the wake of the violence at the Capitol as a step taken by “cowardly authoritarians” but didn’t mention that other big platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube also took similar steps.
According to the Gateway Pundit, 24 hours after Matze criticized the censorship of Twitter and Facebook, Apple threatened to ban Parler “unless they censor and deplatform those who do not fall in line with the Communists”. It also said that “because of Big Tech censorship, Parler is now the fastest growing social media company”.
The report cited Sean Davis, the co-founder of the conservatve Federalist magazine who tweeted: “Apple is currently threatening to ban Parler -- the free speech alternative to Twitter -- unless the service enacts draconian censorship policies demanded by left-wing Big Tech oligarchs, according to two sources familiar with Apple's threats.”
BREAKING: Apple is currently threatening to ban Parler -- the free speech alternative to Twitter -- unless the service enacts draconian censorship policies demanded by left-wing Big Tech oligarchs, according to two sources familiar with Apple's threats.— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) January 8, 2021
The Gateway Pundit also cited a tweet from James Todaro who said: “Apple and Google threaten to remove Parler from app stores unless Parler starts censoring content.”
WOW, that was quick.— James Todaro, MD (@JamesTodaroMD) January 8, 2021
Apple and Google threaten to remove Parler from app stores unless Parler starts censoring content.
Newsweek, however, reported that despite Hannity’s claim of President Trump joining Parler, no results came up for the latter on the platform when searched. It said a search brought up the accounts of Eric Trump, Ivana Trump, Tiffany Trump, Lara Trump and the Team Trump election campaign but not the incumbent president. It also said that an unverified profile claiming to be Donald Trump Jr. is active on Parler.
The report added that a Parler account with the handle of @trump was found and it was created recently but it did not display a profile image and had no post at the time of reporting. The account had about 22,000 followers. Reuters also ran a fact-checking over the news that Trump joined Parler and said in a report published on Thursday, January 7, Trump didn't have a Parler account as of the time of its publication.
The Gatrway Pundit also reported that Parler servers went down after Trump joined the platform.