Google Play suspends Parler for failure to moderate posts that incite violence

Parler, a social media site that prides itself on allowing unrestricted freedom of speech, has been suspended from Google Play for failing to moderate content that incites violence, Google said on Friday. The suspension comes as multiple social media companies are cracking down on posts that promote violence in the wake of the assault on the U.S. Capitol. 

A Google spokesperson said the suspension was made “in order to protect user safety.” 

“Our longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like posts that incite violence,” a company spokesperson said. “All developers agree to these terms and we have reminded Parler of this clear policy in recent months.” 

The company said it’s aware of “continued posting” in the app that “seeks to incite ongoing violence in the U.S,” adding that “In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app’s listings from the Play Store until it addresses these issues.” 

There have been dozens of posts on the app that encourage users to partake in actions similar to those of Trump supporters rioting at the Capitol on Wednesday. 

One post that was published on Thursday includes a banner for a “million militia march” to be held on January 20, the day President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated.

“The time for peaceful protests has past they’re stealing this election,” the post reads. “…#CallToArms take back our country.” 

The Google spokesperson said that the company recognizes content policies are debatable and that immediately removing content that violates the policy can be “difficult,” but that moderating “egregious content” is required by apps nonetheless. 

The suspension comes hours after many pointed out how calls for violence on the app have intensified since Wednesday. 

Matze mocked the message, saying “apparently they know what is best for you by telling you which apps you may and may not use.” 

“Apparently they believe Parler is responsible for ALL user generated content on Parler. Therefor by the same logic, Apple must be responsible for ALL actions taken by their phones. Every car bomb, every illegal cell phone conversation, every illegal crime committed on an iPhone,” Matze said.

Musadiq Bidar contributed reporting. 

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