Apple will allow social media app Speak, which touts itself as a champion of free speech, to return to the App Store following its launch of the platform following the Capitol Riots for hosting content that breaks the rules.
Apple had promised Parler, which is controlled by Republican mega-donor Rebekah Mercer, would be welcome if it agreed to step up its content moderation to combat hate speech.
In a letter to two Republican lawmakers – Colorado Congressman Ken Buck and Utah Senator Mike Lee – As of April 19, Apple said Parler had “offered updates to its app” that would bring it into compliance.
The app, popular among conservatives and some on the far right, greeted calls for violence in the days leading up to the assault on Capitol Hill, including calls for the assassination of the former deputy. President Mike Pence.
Many conservatives have attacked Apple’s ban as a act of censorship by Big Tech, just days after Twitter kicked then-President Donald Trump from his platform.
Google also banned Talking from Android devices, and the app was denied web hosting services by Amazon, forcing it to log out.
Lee posted Apple’s letter to Twitter on Monday, adding, “Conservative rhetoric should not be silenced.” Buck hailed the decision as a “huge victory for free speech.”
Responding to questions from Republican lawmakers, Apple said in its letter that Parler has failed to moderate content that “encourages violence, denigrates various ethnic groups, races and religions, glorifies Nazism and calls for violence against people. specific ”. He also said he took issue with the app’s “content moderation efforts, as well as its repeatedly expressed desire not to moderate content at all.”
He asked Parler to make sure he had tools to filter and report objectionable content, the “ability to block abusive users” and contact details so that users can reach the developer. said the letter. On April 14, Apple was satisfied that the app had made the necessary changes and “expects the updated app to be available as soon as Parler releases it.”
However, it’s still unclear when that will be the case. Talk who sacked its general manager John Matze in February, is still not available for download and he has not announced a new web hosting service.
Speaking did not immediately return a request for comment, nor did Amazon or Google.
Major social media platforms have faced a barrage of criticism of Congress on their role in US electoral politics. In a hearing last month with the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Republicans complained of bias against conservatives while Democrats called for tighter content controls.
Some lawmakers on both sides have called for reforms to Section 230, the rules that grant tech platforms immunity from prosecution for user-generated content, to make them more accountable in the future.
Apple’s chief compliance officer Kyle Andeer is also expected to attend a hearing on Wednesday before the Senate subcommittee on competition policy, competition and consumer rights.