Parler, the Twitter-like social media app popular with the far right, is set to return to Apple’s App Store, after content moderation improvements to the app were implemented.

Parler was founded in 2018 and billed itself as a “free speech-driven” social media platform, but it became a haven for many on the far right who objected to the rules governing misinformation and falsehood on Facebook and Twitter.

But things changed he storming of the US Capitol building on Wednesday 6 January by supporters of Donald Trump, that resulted in the deaths of five people, including one police officer who was beaten to death, Google and Apple removed Parler from their respective App Stores.

Parler booted

In the aftermath, both Google and Apple suspended the Parler app from their respective app stores.

Soon after, Parler was effectively shutdown when Amazon Web Services (AWS) stopped hosting the right wing alternative to Twitter.

Parler launched a lawsuit against AWS in response, and the platform did make an intermittent returned online with the help of a Russian-owned technology company.

Parler later dropped its lawsuit against AWS.

And behind the scenes there was trouble when Parler founder and CEO John Matze confirmed he had been fired by the app’s board of directors.

In mid Feb the app announced that it was back online, when the app said its new platform was built on “sustainable, independent technology.”

However while the app was once again functioning online, the app itself was not available for download for new users on either the Google Play Store, or the Apple App Store.

App Store return

But this week a letter to the US Congress was leaked by Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo), which said that Apple’s App Review department had approved the changes and an updated version of Parler would be approved by Apple.

Parler has updated its app and improved its content moderation, an Apple official was quoted by CNBC as writing in the letter.

As of 14 April, Apple’s App Review department had approved the changes and an updated version of Parler will be approved by Apple, the letter said.

“Apple anticipates that the updated Parler app will become available immediately upon Parler releasing it,” Timothy Powderly, Apple’s senior director for government affairs, wrote in the letter, which was addressed to Buck and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).

Buck said in a tweet that the decision was a “huge win for free speech.”

“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,” Parler interim CEO Mark Meckler was quoted as saying in a statement.

It is thought that Parler will be available for download on the App Store from next week.

Far right

It remains to be seen whether the nature of Parler has changed.

Parler was mostly used by supporters of former US President Donald Trump and the right wing, and was also reportedly awash with QAnon conspiracy content.

QAnon is a far-right conspiracy that allege there is a “deep state” campaign against Donald Trump and his supporters.

Essentially QAnon touts there is a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles who rule the world, and who control politicians, the media, and Hollywood.

Previous posts on Parler have called for the killing of Democrats, Muslims, Black Lives Matter leaders, and mainstream media journalists.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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