Google Play Store: Parler’s app gets back in the Roll

According to the social media platform, Google has permitted Parler back onto the Google Play Store after it sacked the app in January 2021, noting the platform’s absence of moderation on posts inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol.

Likewise, Apple re-instated Parler to its App Store in May 2021 after temporarily dragging it around the same time Google did.

Parler, which promotes itself as a platform for free speech, agreed to moderate posts that show up in the Play Store app. The company previously said that it has a comparable deal that allows it to remain on the App Store “Anything allowed on the Parler network but not in the iOS app will remain accessible through our web-based and Android versions.” The company also said that its algorithm could detect violent content that violates its guidelines.

Parler isn’t the only social network that’s been in talks with Google to get on the Play Store former president Donald Trump’s social network, Truth Social, has faced similar challenges. As the company behind the app, Digital World Acquisition Corp., faces mounting bills, it says it’s been working “in good faith with Google” to get onto its app distribution platform. Meanwhile, Trump has used the platform to post messages that may put Truth Social in conflict with the Play Store’s user-generated content policy.

After the storming of the Capitol and just before Parler went offline, a researcher scratched roughly eight terabytes of public Parler posts. The posts irritated made up 99% of publicly-accessible Parler posts, including more than a million videos, which held GPS metadata identifying the exact locations where the videos were recorded. The researcher stated she planned to make a public record of “very incriminating” evidence against those who experienced the storming.

The data dump was published online, and the researcher has said the data would eventually be made available by the Internet Archive. According to Ars Technica and Wired, the researcher could scrape the data quickly because the Parler website had poor coding and security. Although all posts downloaded by the investigator were public, because Parler did not scrub metadata, the GPS coordinates of numerous users’ homes had likely been exposed. As of January 15, 2021, Gizmodo had sorted the sites of around 70,000 of the GPS coordinates linked to videos scratched from Parler. Videos scraped from Parler were used as proof during the second impeachment try of Donald Trump.

Parler is an American alt-tech microblogging and social networking service associated with Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, conspiracy theorists, and far-right extremists. Posts on the benefit often have far-right content, antisemitism, and conspiracy theories such as QAnon. Journalists have related Parler as an alt-tech alternative to Twitter, and users include those excluded from mainstream social networks or who resist their moderation policies.

Launched in August 2018, Parler is a free speech-focused and impartial alternative to mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter. However, journalists have criticized this as a cover for its far-right user base. Journalists and users have also slammed the service for content policies that are more restrictive than the company displays and sometimes more restrictive than its rivals. In addition, some left-wing and liberal users have been excluded from Parler for questioning the prevailing viewpoints on the site, criticizing Parler, or completing parody accounts.

Founder and CEO John Matze was Parler’s CEO till January 29, 2021. At that juncture, he said he had been terminated by the company’s board, which he claimed was controlled by investor and co-founder Rebekah Mercer. Former Tea Party activist Mark Meckler operated as interim CEO from February to May 2021, when the Brexit Party’s former candidate and donor George Farmer was named CEO.

Parler’s user base grew exponentially during 2020 with minimal content moderation. However, after reports that Parler was used to coordinating the 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol, several companies denied it their services. Apple and Google released Parler’s mobile app from their app stores, and Parler proceeded offline on January 10, 2021, when Amazon Web Services withdrew its hosting services. Before it moved offline in January 2021, according to Parler, the service had approximately 15 million users. Parler anointed the removals “a coordinated attack by the tech colossi to kill competition in the marketplace.” Parler continued service on February 15, 2021, after driving domain registration to Epik. A version of the app with counted content filters was released on the Apple App Store on May 17. Parler yielded to Google Play on September 2, 2022.

John Matze Jr. and Jared Thomson launched Parler in Nevada in August 2018. The business’s name was accepted from the French word “parler,” meaning “to speak.” The name was initially intended to be pronounced in French (French pronunciation, English approximation: PAR-lay). Instead, it is now pronounced as the English word “parlor” The Wall Street Journal first registered in November 2020 that conventional investor Rebekah Mercer had funded Parler. Mercer has since been exposed to have been a co-founder of the company.

According to Mercer, she co-founded Parler to oppose the “ever-increasing tyranny and hubris of our tech overlords.” Thomson acts as the chief technology officer, and Matze was Parler’s top executive official from its founding until January 2021. Both are alumnus of the University of Denver computer science program and were roommates in college. Some other Parler senior teams also attended the school.