After Apple faced harsh backlash for colluding with other tech companies to censor conservative supporters of former president Donald Trump, it agreed Monday to allow Parler back on its app store.
However, the deal kept open the possibility that Apple may yet censor Parler content deemed to be too conservative.
The social-media app will implement “several new safeguards” after “several months of productive dialogue with Apple,” according to a Parler press release.
“We have worked to put in place systems that will better detect unlawful speech and allow users to filter content undesirable to them,” Parler interim CEO Mark Meckler said.
Parler has agreed to use Hive, an artificial intelligence software company, to flag and automatically remove content that Apple deems inappropriate.
Hive also works with other Big Tech companies, such as Reddit, helping them discover and remove conservative content from their websites.
The announcement came not long after Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., penned a letter to Apple, condemning its unfair restrictions on free speech in the wake of the Jan. 6 US Capitol uprising.
Prior to the deplatforming, Parler had surged to become one of the top app-store downloads as outraged ‘deplorables’ called for boycotts to Twitter and Facebook over their banning of Trump.
The conservative-friendly platform maintained that it “has always prohibited incitement,” and that it had been “unfairly scapegoated for the events of January 6th.”
Subsequent analyses of social media communications bore that claim out, revealing that far more pro-Trump dissidents who coordinated their movements had relied on Facebook.
Nonetheless, Google, Apple and Amazon—the three leading companies in charge of hosting and distributing Parler’s content—arbitrarily targeted the Dan Bongino-backed upstart.
With help from an independent hosting company, Parler was able to return online in February after a monthlong absence, but it has since struggled to regain its momentum.
Its capitulation to big-tech censorship has now given it access to at least one major app store from which it was previously banished.
But imposing new filters to ensure that only Apple-sanctioned content is permitted could defeat the purpose and cost precious credibility in the burgeoning right-wing social-media market.
Gab, another pro-conservative platform, criticized new Parler leadership for bending its knee before Big Tech.
“Conceding to the Enemy’s demands in order to participate in the Enemy’s app stores is not a win for conservatives or the right in general,” wrote Gab CEO Andrew Torba in a statement following the announcement.
“It’s a PR win for Apple, who hopes to get Republicans in Congress off their back,” he added.
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.