In a letter, Apple’s Senior Director of Government Affairs, Timothy Powderly, informed Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Representative Ken Buck (R-Colo.) that since the social media network Parler has updated its content moderation practices, it will again be allowed on the App Store.
Parler was notified by Apple that it would be removed from the App Store shortly after the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The site, which is backed by Rebekah Mercer, daughter of major Republican donor and billionaire Robert Mercer, had a major problem not just with extremist and violent content, but also with pornography and fraud. A dataset of Parler posts collected before the site was removed from Amazon Web Services– including posts from 4 million users between August 2018 and January 2021, as well as metadata from 13.25 million user profiles from August 2018 through January 2021– came with a warning to from researchers “that we post and analyze the dataset unfiltered; as such, some of the content might be toxic, racist, and hateful, and can overall be disturbing.”
Justin Hendrix is CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Press, a new nonprofit media venture concerned with the intersection of technology and democracy. Previously, he was Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. He spent over a decade at The Economist in roles including Vice President, Business Development & Innovation. He is an associate research scientist and adjunct professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Opinions expressed here are his own.