In recent months, huge swaths of President Donald Trump’s supporters have decided that they’re no longer interested in having accounts on mainstream social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Following President Trump’s loss of the 2020 election (and especially after his tweets regarding the election were flagged for spreading disinformation), many of his supporters left Twitter for Parler, an app that quickly became known as “Twitter for Conservatives” and which is marked by its minimal moderation.
After President Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter following the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, his supporters once again started flocking to Parler — or they tried to, anyway. Instead, those who tried to open a new Parler account were met with a message saying that “Parler sign up was not available.” So, what exactly is going on with the so-called “free speech” app?
Why does Parler say “Sign up not available”?
If you (for whatever reason) try to sign up for a Parler account now, you’ll quickly find that it’s not possible. The website says “sign up not available” — and that’s only if you can actually access the website (there’s a good chance you can’t).
That’s because the app has been banned on both Google Play and Apple’s App Store. There is no longer any way to sign up and make a new account — not without sideloading the software, anyway.
Why was Parler shut down?
Parler was one of the apps that the violent protestors who stormed the U.S. Capitol used to plan their attack. It became the top downloaded app on the Apple Store on Jan. 8 (the day Trump was banned from Twitter).
Made myself a parler account just the other day. Left myself signed in and left the tab open. Went to try and access the tab today and... @Google could you explain this to me? I thought it was just being taken off mobile stores pic.twitter.com/r2PcBQGi0V— C0 Cadet Yoshi (@tattooedyoshi) January 11, 2021
That same day, Google announced it was suspending the app from the Google Play store, saying that its lack of “moderation policies and enforcement" posed a "public safety threat." Apple quickly followed suit, and now Parler is no more. As it turns out, an app used to plan a violent attack on Congress is one of those things that doesn’t really fly with major app stores. Go figure.
When will Parler be back up?
In statements regarding the suspension of Parler from their respective App storefronts, both Google and Apple seemed to imply that they would reinstate Parler as a downloadable app after a more robust moderation process is put into place within the app.
It appears as though Parler put forward a plan to resolve the issues, including a “temporary task force,” but Apple says their most recent plan isn’t good enough. “Your response also references a moderation plan 'for the time being,' which does not meet the ongoing requirements,” Apple said in a statement. “A temporary 'task force' is not a sufficient response given the widespread proliferation of harmful content.”
It’s possible that Parler could eventually come up with a plan that meets Apple’s and Google’s guidelines, but don’t count on it. There’s also the fact that if Parler were to implement a more robust moderation process, the people who have flocked to the app in search of what they consider to be “free speech” would no longer be interested in holding accounts there.
Instead, we wouldn’t be surprised if people start flocking to MeWe or other non-mainstream social media networks. That being said, we also wouldn’t be surprised if those start being suspended by major app stores, too.