Parler App Store GabShieberTechcrunch: Following the insurrection at the United States Capitol on January 6th, various social media platforms commenced a crackdown on extremist content and hate speech. Parler and Gab, central to the controversy, were removed from Apple App Store and Google Play Store. This article will examine the reasons for their removal and the ongoing debate on social media about free speech and moderation.
The Controversial Rise of Parler and Gab
Parler positions itself as a social media platform that champions “free speech,” offering an alternative to mainstream platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. It has attracted a large user base of conservatives, many of whom have been critical of what they see as censorship by these larger platforms. Critics have accused Parler of becoming a breeding ground for far-right extremists, conspiracy theorists, and hate speech.
Gab, another platform removed from app stores, has a similar reputation. Andrew Torba created it in response to what he saw as censorship by Silicon Valley companies. Gab has been criticized for its lack of moderation, allowing extremist content and hate speech to flourish on the platform.
The January 6th Riot and the Crackdown on Parler and Gab
The events of January 6th, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, led to a renewed focus on the role of social media in spreading extremist content and inciting violence. Many rioters coordinated on social media, including Parler and Gab.
In the wake of the riot, Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores, citing concerns about the platform’s lack of content moderation. Amazon Web Services also suspended Parler’s hosting, leading to the venue being offline for several days. App stores had already removed Gab and saw a surge in traffic from Parler users looking for an alternative platform.
The Debate About Free Speech and Moderation
The removal of Parler and Gab from the app stores has sparked a debate about free speech and moderation on social media. Many conservatives see this as an attack on their right to free address, while others argue that platforms like Parler and Gab have become havens for hate speech and extremism.
Some have argued that removing these platforms from the app stores is not a violation of free speech but rather a business decision by the app store owners. Apple and Google are private companies and have the right to decide which apps are available on their platforms. Others have pointed out that these companies have policies against hosting hate speech and extremist content and that Parler and Gab violated those policies.
The removal of Parler and Gab from the app stores has highlighted the ongoing debate about free speech and moderation on social media. While some see these platforms as essential alternatives to mainstream social media, others see them as havens for hate speech and extremism. The events of January 6th have brought this debate to the forefront and will likely continue for some time.