A few weeks back, Apple revealed that it was ready to let the conservative-inclined social media platform Parler back onto its App Store shelves, but only if it abided by Apple’s content moderation policies. Now, having agreed to these terms, Parler is officially back on the app store.
Parler’s apparent mission statement is, “free speech for all”, pitching itself as the bastion for truly free discussion amidst a sea of social media outlets with what it sees as restrictive content moderation policies. Unfortunately, free speech on Parler kind of translates to: “say any controversial thing you’d like”.
The platform is now infamously known as the place bigots go to in order to vent their spleen and tout whatever slurs they’ve been unable to say out-loud in any other setting.
As a result, Parler was effectively taken offline a few months ago, after the raid on the US Capitol Building in January. The social media platform’s hosts kicked it off of their servers and Apple and Google kicked it off their stores in the aftermath of the riots.
Parler and Apple have had “months of productive dialogue”, interim CEO Mark Meckler told The Verge, clearly sorting out what it would take for the app to return to the App Store. The result, Meckler says, is a stricter content moderation policy, but one that still doesn’t compromise the platform’s core mission.
Effectively, while their policies still differ, anything that appears on Parler that is in conflict with Apple’s rules will still be visible on the web and Android versions of the platform, but not on iOS. Meckler calls it a win, explaining that the iOS app now has an algorithm that can automatically weed out content Apple wouldn’t be happy with. This content would then, presumably, be removed from the iOS app.
We’ll see how well it works in due time. Apple’s giving Meckler and his platform a second chance here, but should the algorithm prove to be less adequate than Meckler promises we doubt it’ll be so generous again.