Parler
Parler
AFP

As US tech firms launched a crackdown against right-wing information ecosystem, suspending President Donald Trump's Twitter account and kicking off some of his prominent supporters, Google removed microblogging platform Parler from its app store.

Google cited posts inciting violence and demanding "robust" moderation for "egregious" content from the social networking service to remove it from the Play Store.

Apple also warned Parler on Friday that it will ban the service from its app store if it doesn't start to moderate its content better.

While Parler is popular platform against conservative, rightwing supporters of Trump, there are many in other parts of the world who are unfamiliar with it.

Here is a handy guide for those who do not know what Parler is:

Parler was launched in September 2018 as an alternative to Twitter and became popular with Trump supporters, conservatives, anti-semties, Islamophobic, conspiracy theorists and right-wing extremists.

It was co-founded by John Matze, Jared Thomson and Rebekah Mercer. Matze is currently the CEO of the company.

Parler literally means "to speak" in French. It touted itself as Twitter without rules.

While the platform is touted as a free speech alternative of big tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it often kicks out anti-Trump users or those who try to cahllenge the rightwing narrative.

It, however, allows unchecked posts that include conspiracy theories, threats and hate speech, among other things.

The January 6 Capitol storming was planned on Parler with numerous Trump supporters calling for US Congress to reverse the election results. There were also open calls for violence.

As Twitter banned Trump and many of his conservative followers including Michael Flynn and Nancy Powell, many more Trump supporters started shifting their base to Parler.

Google removes Parler

Google has now removed Parler from its app store.

"In order to protect user safety on Google Play, our longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like spots that incite violence. All developers agree to these terms and we have reminded Parler of this clear policy in recent months," Google said in a statement.

"We recognise that there can be reasonable debate about content policies and that it can be difficult for apps to immediately remove all violative content, but for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content," it said.

"In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app from the Play Store until it addresses these issues," said Google, whose software powers Android phones.

Apple warns Parler

Apple in a statement said it has received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in Parler service, accusations that the app was used to plan, coordinate and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington DC on January 6 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," the company said.

Parler's CEO John Matze in a post challenged Apple's position. "Apparently they believe Parler is responsible for ALL user generated content on Parler. By the same logic, Apple must be responsible for ALL actions taken by their phones. Every car bomb, every illegal cell phone conversation, every illegal crime committed on an iPhone, Apple must also be responsible for," he said.

"We will not cave to pressure from anti-competitive actors! We will and always have enforced our rules against violence and illegal activity. But we WONT cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech!" he said.

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