Amazon, Apple and Google Cut Off Parler, an App That Drew Trump Supporters
Amazon, Apple and Google’s moves could also spur other apps to strengthen their enforcement.
DLive, a livestreaming site that rioters storming the Capitol used to broadcast the moment, said on Friday that it had indefinitely suspended seven channels and permanently removed over 100 previous broadcasts of the mob. It added that the “lemons,” a DLive currency that can be converted into real money, sent to the suspended channels would be refunded to donors in the next few days.
Other platforms that host posts by right-wing influencers, including CloutHub and MyMilitia — a forum for militia groups — adjusted their terms of service recently to ban threats of violence.
DLive was pressured by Tipalti, a payment company that helps it operate. Tipalti said in a statement that it had suspended its service until DLive removed the accounts that had broadcast the riots on Wednesday.
Such third-party companies that help apps and websites function, from payment processors to cybersecurity firms to web-hosting providers like Amazon, have used their positions to influence how their customers handle extremist or criminal activity. In 2019, Cloudflare, a company that protects sites from cyberattacks, effectively delivered the death knell to 8chan, an anonymous online message board that hosted the manifesto of a mass shooter, by halting its protections for the site. After Cloudflare backed away from 8chan, the site struggled to find other service providers that could keep it active.
Parler could have the same problem now that it lacked a way to host its website, particularly as the company suddenly became a pariah after Wednesday’s riot, which was partially planned on Parler. Amazon had faced pressure from its own employees and at least one member of Congress before it pulled its support for Parler, and other companies could fear unwanted attention if they took its business.
BuzzFeed News first reported Amazon’s decision to pull its support for Parler.
If Parler is able to find a provider and resume its service, it will still have an uphill journey to find new users without a place in the major app stores. Apple’s decision blocks iPhone owners from downloading the Parler app. People who already have the app will still be able to use it — if it comes back online — but their versions of the app will soon become obsolete as Apple updates the iPhone software.
Google cut Parler out of its flagship Android app store, but it also allows apps to be downloaded from elsewhere, meaning Android users would still be able to find the Parler app, just with a bit more work. If Parler finds a new web-hosting provider, its website would also be available via web browsers on phones and computers.