Google suspends Parler app from Play Store

LOS ANGELES: Google has suspended the Parler social networking service from its app store, citing posts inciting violence and demanding content moderation from the app favored by many supporters of US President Donald Trump.

Apple also gave the service 24 hours to submit a detailed moderation plan, pointing to participants using the service to coordinate the siege of the US Capitol building.

The actions by the two companies mean that the network seen as a haven for people expelled from Twitter could become unavailable for new downloads on the world’s main mobile phone app stores within a day. It would still be available in mobile browsers.

Right-leaning social media users in the United States have flocked to Parler, messaging app Telegram and hands-off social site Gab, citing the more aggressive policing of political comments on mainstream platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Twitter permanently suspended President Trump’s account on Friday.

In suspending the service, Google, whose software powers Android phones, cited its policy against apps that promote violence and gave recent examples from Parler including those promoting a “Million Militia March” on Washington.

READ MORE: Twitter permanently suspends Donald Trump’s account

In a statement, Google said that “for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content. 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.

Parler Chief Executive John Matze said in a post that Apple was applying standards to Parler that it did not apply to itself. Matze founded Parler in 2018 as a “free-speech driven” alternative to mainstream platforms but began courting right-leaning users as prominent supporters of Trump moved there.

Those who have joined include Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, commentator Candace Owens and right-wing activist Laura Loomer, who handcuffed herself to the door of Twitter’s New York office in November 2018 to protest a ban on her by the site.

In November, conservative activist Rebekah Mercer confirmed that she and her family, which includes her father and hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer, have provided funding to Parler.