Google suspends the Talking social network application from the Play Store; Apple gives 24 hour warning

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(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google on Friday suspended the Talking social media service from its app store, citing posts inciting violence and demanding “robust” moderation of app content favored by many supporters of US President Donald Trump.

FILE PHOTO: The Apple Inc logo is seen at the entrance to the Apple Store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York, United States, October 16, 2019. REUTERS / Mike Segar

Apple Inc also gave the service 24 hours to submit a detailed moderation plan on Friday, indicating that attendees are using the service to coordinate Wednesday’s headquarters of the U.S. Capitol building.

The actions of the two Silicon Valley companies mean that the network seen as a safe haven for those kicked out of Twitter could become unavailable for further uploads to the world’s major mobile app stores today. It would still be available in mobile browsers.

In the United States, right-wing social media users have flocked to Speak, the Telegram messaging app and the hands-off social site Gab, citing the more aggressive police for political commentary on mainstream platforms such as Twitter Inc and Facebook. Inc. 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 of Talking, including a Friday post that began with “How to take our country back? About twenty coordinated hits “and another promoting a” March of the Millions of Militias “on Washington.

Parler chief executive John Matze said in a post on Friday that Apple applied to Talking standards that it did not apply to itself.

In a statement, Google said that “in order for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we require apps to implement robust moderation for blatant content. In light of this ongoing and urgent threat to public safety, we are suspending the app’s listings from the Play Store until it resolves these issues. “

In a letter from the Apple App Store review team to Parler seen by Reuters, Apple cited participants in the crowd that stormed the United States Capitol on Wednesday.

“Content that threatens the well-being of others or that is intended to incite violence or other lawless acts has never been acceptable on the App Store,” Apple said in the letter.

Apple has given Speak 24 Hours to “remove any objectionable content from your app … as well as any content that refers to personal injury or attacks on government facilities, now or at a future date.” The company also asked Parler to submit a written plan “to moderate and filter this content” from the app.

Apple declined to comment.

Matze, who describes himself as a libertarian, founded Parler in 2018 as a ‘free speech driven’ alternative to mainstream platforms, but has started courting right-wing users as prominent Trump supporters there. were installing.

Among those who joined were commentator Candace Owens, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and right-wing activist Laura Loomer, who handcuffed herself to the door of Twitter’s New York office in November 2018 to protest its ban 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, provided funding to Talk.

“Apparently they think Parler is responsible for ALL user-generated content on Parler,” said Matze. “Therefore (sic) by the same logic, Apple should be responsible for ALL actions taken by their phones. Every car bomb, every illegal cell phone conversation, every illegal crime committed on an iPhone, Apple must also be responsible, ”he wrote. “Standards that don’t apply to Twitter, Facebook, or even Apple, apply to Talking.”

(This story corrects suspected hanging in paragraph 4.)

Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford, Joseph Menn and Stephen Nellis; Editing by Leslie Adler, Cynthia Osterman and Daniel Wallis


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