Parler is still home to rampant racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and calls for violence in the name of white nationalism, leading Apple to reject its bid to be allowed back on the App Store, documents obtained by Input show. Apple’s decision to continue blocking Parler was first reported by Bloomberg.
More than a dozen examples highlighted in an email sent to Parler’s developers on February 25 reveal pages upon pages of results for terms including “n****r,” “f****t,” and the neo-Nazi favorite, “1488.” Swastikas and images of Adolf Hitler also abound in the included screenshots, as does anti-feminist rhetoric. In multiple instances, far-right talking head Milo Yiannopoulos is seen harassing female users and going off on violent rants in favor of hate speech. This content remained on the platform even as he complained about being censored by Parler for “posts about hanging homosexuals.”
It’s yet another disturbing look into the hate-fueled culture that Parler continues to foster and makes explicitly clear why Apple has maintained its refusal to reinstate Parler’s App Store presence. The email exchange viewed by Input indicates Parler introduced new “moderation capabilities” but was again rejected on February 25 because, as is obvious in the examples below, these steps were not enough. Yiannopoulos was, however, reportedly banned from Parler that same day.
Content Warning: The following images show extremely graphic racism, anti-Semitism, hate speech, and violence directed towards women and other groups.
The examples below may be upsetting to some readers.
They’re not getting it — All of this comes after Parler was pulled from the App Store in January for hosting content that openly incited violence and racism, which culminated in a riot at the Capitol on January 6. In the immediate aftermath of the Capitol riot, Parler was also booted from Google Play and dropped by its domain host, Amazon Web Services. It’s struggled to get back online since, going so far as to sue Amazon for kicking it offline and deepening its woes (it’s since withdrawn the suit).
Despite explicit instructions to step up moderation and rid the platform of any harmful content if it hopes to be allowed back on Apple’s marketplace, these latest images show Parler has done anything but clean up its act. Apple doubled-down on its stance in a follow-up sent to Parler on February 25, noting that it “is clear from your stated moderation policies and from review of your app, that your moderation practices are insufficient.” Parler may have filtered out more prominent offenders like Milo Yiannopoulos when pressed, but the problem remains widespread in its userbase.
In the email, Apple said:
We appreciate the additional detail you have provided to explain your approach to protecting users from dangerous and harmful content on your service, including violent threats and incitement. After having reviewed the new information, we do not believe these changes are sufficient to comply with App Store Review Guidelines 1.1 Objectionable Content and 1.2 User Generated Content. There is no place for hateful, racist, and discriminatory content on the App Store. As you know, developers are required to implement robust moderation capabilities to proactively identify, prevent and filter this objectionable content to protect the health and safety of users. It is clear from your stated moderation policies and from review of your app, that your moderation practices are insufficient to comply with the App Store Review Guidelines. In fact, 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.
Parler managed to get itself back up and running in February, albeit to a more limited degree than before, after finding a new host and ousting its former CEO, John Matze. At the time of relaunch, Parler was only open to members who held accounts before the site was dropped by Amazon.