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"Not Many Changes Required" for Parler to Return to Apple Store

Maxim Sorokopud Maxim Sorokopud
16th April 2021
"Not Many Changes Required" for Parler to Return to Apple Store
Parler may remove posts that incite violence (Getty Images).

The Claim

Right-wing social media platform Parler will have to infringe on free speech to return to the Apple Store.

Emerging story

Following the storming of the U.S. Capitol, Apple and other large tech companies made the decision to remove the right-wing social media network Parler from their app stores due to what they saw as its role in inciting violence.

In April 2021, a number of  websites reported that Parler was in talks with Apple on the subject of returning to the Apple Store. Some stated that Parler would only return to the store if it conformed to “left-wing bias” and infringed on free speech. They further claimed that the supposed new rules would forbid Parler users from discussing election fraud, satanism, vaccines and other controversial subject matter. 

A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar’s investigation has confirmed that Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that he hopes for Parler to return to the Apple Store in the future. However, there are no indications that the social network would have to censor free speech (which we discuss in depth here) to do so. 

Instead, Parler’s CEO, Mark Meckler, confirmed in early April, 2021, that “not many changes are required” for Parler to return to the Apple Store. The CEO clarified that the platform had been “working cooperatively with Apple to make some tweaks to the system.” This includes adding in artificial intelligence that will help moderators flag ”troublesome" posts. He then clarified that these troublesome posts were not free speech posts but posts that were illegal under U.S. law, such as posts that were specifically inciting violence. 

Moderating incitement of violence is not the same as suppressing free speech. As the U.S. Supreme Court has previously ruled, “the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” 

As of April 16, 2021, Parler has not returned to the Apple Store or other large tech platforms. It remains to be seen how the platform may moderate its users when/if it fully returns. However, Parler CEO's statement indicates that when/if the social network returns, it will not suppress free speech or forbid the discussion of controversial topics. Instead, it will moderate posts that incite violence. 

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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