Apple said in a letter to Senator Mike Lee and Congressman Ken Buck that it didn't coordinate with Amazon, Google, or any of the other companies that deplatformed Parler in the wake of the Capitol riots in January. Since then Parler has overhauled its infrastructure, fired its CEO and promised to change the way it moderates content. Its first set of community guidelines were deemed insufficient, and as recently as March 10th, Apple was still rejecting Parler updates, and Parler was letting go of its iOS developers.
But Parler knew how badly it needed Apple. In a March statement, Parler's chief policy officer Amy Peikoff said, "We have since engaged Apple to show them how we've incorporated a combination of algorithmic filters and human review to detect and remove content that threatens or incites violence." Peikoff noted new filtering and blocking tools the platform had released. "Parler expects and hopes to keep working with Apple to return to the App Store," Peikoff said at the time.
In the end, it looks like Parler needed iOS more than it needed to remain an anything-goes haven for free-speech absolutists everywhere. As others have found, nobody takes on the App Store and wins.
David Pierce (
@pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.