Apple will allow Parler back onto the App Store

The social network popular with conservatives and right-wing extremists is returning to Apple's virtual store.

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The Parler social media app on Apple's App Store
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Parler will be allowed back onto Apple's iOS App Store . After being taken down following the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol, the social media service popular with conservatives and right-wing extremists appears set to return to Apple's virtual storefront. 

In a letter sent to Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Colorado Rep. Ken Buck on Monday, Apple said it has approved proposed changes by Parler, and the iPhone maker "anticipates" the app's return to the App Store once Parler is updated with those fixes. In a tweet, Buck shared the letter and praised the move as a "huge win for free speech." CNN earlier reported the news.

In the letter, Apple says it originally removed the app from its platform because its app review team "found a significant number of posts on Parler app that clearly violated" the company's rules against "objectionable content." This included posts that "encouraged violence, denigrated various ethnic groups, races and religions, glorified Nazism, and called for violence against specific people." 

Apple says that it sent a "communication" to Parler requesting that it remove "specifically identified prohibited content" and explain "how Parler would improve its content moderation practices to comply" with Apple's guidelines, noting that it had "previously notified Parler of similar compliance failures on multiple occasions." 

After Parler "did not communicate a sufficient plan" to improve its moderation, Apple decided to remove the app from the App Store." The iPhone maker adds that it has been in contact with Parler since then about getting its app to comply with Apple's rules, and "as a result of those conversations, Parler has proposed updates to its app and the app's content moderation practices" allowing it to return to the App Store once Parler resubmits the app.

Apple's removal of Parler following the Jan. 6 attack coincided with Google kicking the app off its Android Play Store and Amazon booting it from its Amazon Web Services platform. But the letter adds that Apple made its decision "independent" of similar moves made by Google and Amazon and that it "did not coordinate or otherwise consult" the other two tech giants. 

Mark Meckler, Parler interim CEO, said Parler has since "put in place systems that will better detect unlawful speech." Meckler attributed Apple's decision to the letter from Sen. Lee and Congressman Buck, saying it facilitated Parler's relaunch on the App Store.

Apple had no comment beyond the letter. 

Google, which also removed Parler from its Google Play store in the wake of the Capitol riots, indicated Parler could be reinstated, but stopped short of a commitment. 

"Parler has remained available on Android because of the openness of the platform even if it isn't currently distributed through Google Play," a spokesman for the search giant said in a statement. "As we stated back in January, Parler is welcome back in the Play store once it submits an app that complies with our policies."

Unlike Apple's iOS platform, Google's Android allows other app stores on the operating system, so people could download Parler through other app marketplaces.

Lee and Buck also wrote to Google about Parler last month. In a reply last week, Google said it removed the app from the Play store because it broke the company's rules on content moderation, leading to hate speech and an incitement of violence. "Parler's app has not yet complied with those policies, and that is why it remains suspended," Google wrote.