Google is eradicating the Parler app from the Google Play Retailer
Sundar Pichai, Google CEO
Anindito Mukherjee | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Google has removed Parler, a social media app popular with Trump supporters, from the Google Play Store, making it significantly more difficult for Android users to download and access the app.
Google said in a statement that social media apps must have content moderation guidelines that remove posts that incite violence, and that posts on Parler encourage further violence after the U.S. Capitol riot earlier this week .
The app is being removed as the violence by Trump supporters in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, which left five dead, again called for social media and tech companies to moderate their platforms more closely, especially when it comes to violence to stimulate.
Twitter permanently banned President Donald Trump’s personal account on Friday because it appeared that Trump’s recent tweets were inciting violence, while Facebook blocked Trump from posting the inauguration later this month.
Screenshots from CNBC’s Parler app show users posting references to firing squads and calls for guns to be brought in for the presidential inauguration later this month. In its statement, Google said it warned the app about its content moderation policy earlier this year.
Parler was launched in 2018, and earlier this year it emerged as a pro-Trump alternative to Twitter with less content moderation. “We’re a community town square, an open town square with no censorship,” said Parler CEO John Matze in June. “If you can say it on the streets of New York, you can say it on Parler.”
The Google Play Store isn’t the only way to install apps on Android phones. Users have the option to use alternate app stores or a process called side-loading, which involves installing software manually without going through an app store.
The Parler app is not removed from users’ phones and is still available on the internet, despite having had problems loading the website on Friday.
Parler didn’t immediately return a request for comment on removing app stores on Friday. Matze, the CEO of Parler, published snippets of a message from Apple on his social network on Friday, indicating that Apple plans to remove the app for iPhones from the App Store immediately. An Apple representative didn’t immediately have a comment.
Here is the full explanation from Google:
“To protect the safety of users on Google Play, our long-standing guidelines require that apps that display user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement measures that remove monstrous content such as violent posts. All developers agree to these terms, and we have reminded Parler of clear guidelines over the past few months. We are aware of the continued posting on the Parler app intended to spark ongoing violence in the US We understand that there can be reasonable debate about content guidelines and that It Can Be Difficult for Apps to Remove All Violations Immediately In order for us to distribute an app on Google Play, apps need to implement robust moderation for monstrous content. With this ongoing and urgent threat to public safety, we are putting the app on the Play Store until these problems are resolved. “