Google has blocked Parler, the anti-Big Tech social media platform, from its Google Play Store unless it cracks down on content posted by its users.
A Google spokesperson said Friday that its policies require apps displaying user-generated content to have policies that moderate posts for “egregious” material, including posts that incite violence.
“All developers agree to these terms and we have reminded Parler of this clear policy in recent months,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “We’re aware of continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the U.S. We recognize 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.”
Parler has become a digital refuge for President Trump’s supporters and styled itself as a free speech-oriented platform that does not engage in censorship. The platform surged in popularity after the 2020 November election driven by new users fearing censorship on other social media platforms, and Parler said it gained more than 4 million new members in one November weekend alone.
The decision to block Parler would make the app unavailable on Android devices that use Google’s store to download applications.
In the aftermath of the violence at the Capitol this week, tech platforms have grown more aggressive against inflammatory rhetoric, and the users and platforms that create and host such content. For example, Apple is also threatening to suspend Parler from its App Store, according to reports.
Apple told Parler it received numerous complaints about content on Parler including material being used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate illegal activity in Washington, D.C., on January 6, according to the Wall Street Journal.
To remain active in the App Store, Parler will have to provide details on how it would improve its content moderation and filtration within 24 hours or reportedly risk removal.
Apple and Parler have not responded to requests for comment.
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