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'Huge win for free speech,' Parler may soon return to iPhones, Apple App Store


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Parler could soon return to Apple.

Popular with conservatives, the social media app was booted from iPhones and Android devices following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Two lawmakers – Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Congressman Ken Buck (R-Colo.) –recently sent a letter to Apple asking for Parler to be reinstated in its App Store.

“Today, we received a response,” Buck tweeted Monday. “Parler will be reinstated on the App Store. Huge win for free speech.”

The letter they received from an Apple lobbyist said that “substantial conversations with Parler in an effort to bring the Parler app into compliance” and pledges by Parler to make significant changes to how it moderates content led to last week’s decision to readmit Parler when it submits a new app.

“Parler has, and will always be, a free and open forum where users could engage in the free exchange of ideas in the full spirit of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” interim CEO Mark Meckler said in a statement. “We have worked to put in place systems that will better detect unlawful speech and allow users to filter content undesirable to them, while maintaining our strict prohibition against content moderation based on viewpoint.”

Violent chatter prompted Apple and Google to yank Parler from their app stores. Then Amazon, which hosted the Parler site, pulled the plug. Big Tech’s actions spurred cries of politically motivated censorship from conservatives.

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In Monday’s letter, Apple said it pulled Parler from the App Store in January over its refusal to take down “posts that encouraged violence, denigrated various ethnic groups, races and religions, glorified Nazism, and called for violence against specific people.”

The company said it stands by that decision. Apple declined to comment.

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Parler was used by supporters of former President Donald Trump to plan and chronicle the attack and hosted calls for civil war as Trump urged his followers to march on the Capitol.

Parler has remained available on Android but is not distributed by Google Play. The Android app is also available on Parler’s website.

“As we stated back in January, Parler is welcome back in the Play store once it submits an app that complies with our policies,” Google said in a statement.

Parler has not yet submitted an updated version of its Android app to Google Play.

Parler relaunched in February with Meckler at the helm. The company’s previous CEO, John Matze, told USA TODAY he was fired by the company’s board of directors.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this month he hoped to see Parler back in the App Store. “We work hard to get people on the store, not to keep people off the store.”

At the time, Meckler told Fox News that not many changes were required to reinstate Parler. He characterized the changes as “tweaks” to flag illegal content.

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He said it was independently “proven” that Parler was a responsible social media platform and that the vast majority of planning for Jan. 6 took place elsewhere. 

“I am pleased that Apple agrees with us that more social media platforms are better than less,” Meckler said.





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