The controversial decision ensures that Apple’s anti-free speech policy when it comes to conservative viewpoints will remain in effect, said Justin Danhof, director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project, who submitted the question for the online-only meeting.
Apple and Google, which together form the vast majority of the American cell-phone market, colluded to deplatform to conservative-leaning social-media app following the Jan. 6 uprising at the US Capitol.
Although the exposure led to even more downloads directly from its website, Amazon, which oversaw Parler’s web hosting, soon joined the Big Tech dog-pile, temporarily forcing it to go silent.
However, Parler announced last week that it had found a new host and began a phased-in return on Feb. 15.
“Now that Parler is back online with increased safeguards, when will it be allowed back on the App Store?” Danhof asked.
‘It was one of the most downloaded apps in 2020 and reached number 1 in January,” he added. “And while I disagree with its actions, Facebook’s recent removal of massive amounts of content—largely conservative voices—means that it trafficked for years in what the left calls ‘hate speech.’ Why was it never removed from the App Store?”
Cook did not respond to Danhof’s questions.
Contrary to the false accusations that Parler’s failure to enforce internal censorship allowed militant protesters to organize an attack on the Capitol, subsequent analyses have shown that Facebook was the preferred platform of many so-called right-wing extremists.
Some have also pointed to messages from Antifa in advance of the rally. At least one prominent left-wing activist is known to have been arrested for helping to incite it.
But despite the exculpatory evidence, Apple, Amazon and Google all cited alleged violations of their terms of services to justify their collective censorship campaign.
“Apple can claim that it removed Parler from its App Store for violating its terms of service, but everyone knows it did so as part of the left’s ongoing effort to cancel conservative voices,” Danhof said after the meeting. “And by instantly preventing millions of conservative voices from communicating, Apple proved that it is one of the biggest bullies around.”
Danhof said Apple has hampered free speech around the world.
“Do you know what other voices Apple has silenced? Those of the Hong Kong freedom fighters. At the height of the Hong Kong protests, Apple removed an app that the freedom fighters were using to communicate,” he said.
“In America, Apple works to do the bidding of the political left. In China, it does the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party. In 2021, this is increasingly a distinction without a difference.”