Apple has reportedly denied social media company Parler’s bid to reenter the iOS App Store, saying its platform hasn’t addressed problems with offensive content. Bloomberg reported the news earlier today, quoting a message reportedly sent on February 25th.
According to Bloomberg, Apple said that Parler’s latest community guidelines still didn’t meet its standards. “Simple searches reveal highly objectionable content, including easily identified offensive uses of derogatory terms regarding race, religion and sexual orientation, as well as Nazi symbols,” it reportedly told Parler. “For these reasons your app cannot be returned to the App Store for distribution until it complies with the guidelines.”
“Parler expects and hopes to keep working with Apple”
Parler’s guidelines ban threats, spam, and some other categories of content. However, the right-wing-friendly network’s policies remain permissive compared to other social platforms, and its stated goal is that “removing users or user-provided content be kept to the absolute minimum.”
That strategy has put it at odds with several major companies. Apple and Google both banned its app from their mobile stores in January, following the January 6th mob attack on the US Capitol. And Amazon took the site offline by suspending its web hosting agreement, saying representatives had raised concerns about violent threats preceding the attack. Parler responded by filing suit against Amazon, although it has since relaunched on a different hosting service.
In a statement on Thursday, Parler said the network had added significant new filtering mechanisms since the initial ban. “We have since engaged Apple to show them how we’ve incorporated a combination of algorithmic filters and human review to detect and remove content that threatens or incites violence,” said Parler Chief Policy Office Amy Peikoff. “Parler expects and hopes to keep working with Apple to return to the App Store.”
Peikoff also touted new filtering options that enable users to block racist and gendered attacks out of their feeds. However, the filters are optional, and are consistent with Apple’s claim that derogatory terms and hate symbols remain present on the network.
While Peikoff maintains that Parler hopes to return to iOS, the company is already taking steps to divest from the platform. Bloomberg also reports that Parler cut ties with its last three iOS app developers alongside four other employees. The company still maintains an Android app that can be side-loaded from outside Google’s Play Store, and its site relaunched on February 15th. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Update 9:10 PM ET: Added statement from Parler.