Monday, April 19, 2021

Parler Approved for App Store

Chance Miller (tweet, MacRumors, Hacker News, Slashdot):

After removing Parler from the App Store back in January, Apple has reportedly decided to allow the app to come back. According to a new report from CNN, Apple has approved Parler’s latest attempt to return to the App Store follow improvements to the moderation system…

Normally, developers have to develop and submit an app to see whether its gets approved. You can’t ask beforehand whether an approach is acceptable. In this case, Apple is pre-announcing that it will approve the app based on a proposal of how the moderation will work. This is odd because the previously removed version of the app already met the letter of Apple’s guidelines. The issue was that in practice the moderation didn’t work to Apple’s satisfaction. But now it’s pre-approved even though Apple hasn’t even tried the app.

Mark Gurman:

Apple’s decision to reinstate Parler comes ahead of a Wednesday hearing scheduled by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights[…]

I guess that explains it. The letter from Apple to the congressmen is here.


Update (2021-05-18): Hartley Charlton:

The controversial social media app Parler has today returned to the App Store, several months after Apple suspended it for breach of App Store rules.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

Old Unix Geek

While Congressman Ken Buck claims that this is a huge win for free speech, I cannot but disagree. I find it an odd thing to say given that I'd expect the intersection of the set of people who care about free speech and the set of people who celebrate Apple's letter, to be empty, since Apple's letter says it will ban whomever it chooses, based on its own interpretation of its incredibly vaguely formulated rules about how users' speech should be constrained.

Nor does Apple come out of this looking particularly squeaky clean. One could conclude that there is no level playing-field, that all one needs to get an App shipped is some pet congressmen, and have them threaten Apple's income. "Nice App Store you have there, it would be a shame if it were to become regulated..."

And one could conclude that large US corporations are now empowered to determine the limits of free speech, to act in concert, and will not suffer any consequences for interfering in democracy. Keep that up, and we'll be able to skip the fraught process of voting. After all, whatever the public is allowed to say will correlate 100% with what the public would vote anyway. Our Brave New World will be cheaper, and have the additional benefit that no politician will ever get confused as to whom he is accountable anymore.

I should give up caring. It'd be better for my mental sanity.

OUG, is there any evidence that Parler's "pet congressmen" actually threatened Apple's income, or are you just assuming that because a legislator (of the minority party, in a different state) applauded this decision that he was somehow involved? Isn't it at least as likely that the *majority* party would want Parler *not* to be approved?

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