The online chat world is at war, as tech giants like Google and Twitter take action against hate speech and the likes of Donald Trump for reasons regarding inciting violence and going against their policies. There have been a lot of mixed reactions about the entire process.
Ever since the Capitol Hill incident, things have been looking very grim as different people went online to express their views about the entire matter. The incident, which saw many Americans more specifically Trump supporters storm into the Capitol has been politically corrected to be called a protest.
Many Blacks have taken offence to the matter and have cited that things would have been handled differently if it were African Americans that had staged the protest. Some say that the level of police brutality could have skyrocketed but since it was mostly white people, the matter was handled with kid gloves.
Meanwhile, Google has now suspended free speech social network app, Parler from its Play Store due to its failure to remove “egregious content”. The app, which prides itself as being “unbiased” social media has become popular with people who have been banned from Twitter and other social networks.
According to Google, Parler had failed to remove posts inciting violence and Apple has also sent out a similar warning to the free speech app regarding the same matter and promises to remove it from its app store if it doesn’t comply.
However, Parler’s chief executive John Matze responded to the request and actions taken against the app by saying: “We won’t cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech!”
Launched in 2018, Parler has proved particularly popular among supporters of US President Donald Trump and right-wing conservatives. Such groups have frequently accused Twitter and Facebook of unfairly censoring their views.
Parler has come under a lot of scrutiny for allowing right-wing conservatives to use the platform as a means to incite violence and other forms of racial injustice towards people of colour.
While Mr Trump himself is not a user, the platform already features several high-profile contributors following earlier bursts of growth in 2020.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz boasts 4.9 million followers on the platform, while Fox News host Sean Hannity has about seven million. It briefly became the most-downloaded app in the United States after the US election, following a clampdown on the spread of election misinformation by Twitter and Facebook.
Free speech app Parler suspended by Google while Twitter permanently bans Trump’s account
After the recent ban by Twitter and Facebook against Donald Trump, including YouTube which took action against his videos, Twitter has made its stand official and has permanently banned Trump’s account.
The action taken by Twitter has been welcomed by some lawmakers and celebrities who have been asking for it for many years including totally banning Mr Trump altogether.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted on Thursday that the Silicon Valley giants should stop enabling Mr Trump’s “monstrous behaviour” and permanently expel him.
When Mr Trump was locked out of his account for 12 hours on Wednesday after he called the people who stormed the US Capitol “patriots”. He was given a warning not to pursue the matter further or face a total ban completely said Twitter.
Hundreds of his supporters entered the complex as the US Congress attempted to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. The ensuing violence led to the deaths of four civilians and a police officer.
However, Trump didn’t follow through with Twitter’s guidelines and his account was later permanently banned after it breached the platform’s rules again. He posted certain tweets that forced the social media platform to take action.
In one, he wrote: “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
Twitter said this tweet “is being interpreted as a further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an ‘orderly transition'”.
In the next, the president tweeted: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Twitter said this was “being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate”. The social platform deemed that both of the tweets were “in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy”.
Does Parler stand a chance against Google and Apple?
In a statement, Google confirmed it had suspended Parler from its Play Store, saying: “Our longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like posts that incite violence.
“In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app’s listings from the Play Store until it addresses these issues.”
Apple has warned Parler it will be removed from the App Store on Saturday in a letter published by Buzzfeed News.
It said it had seen “accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate” the attacks on the US Capitol on 6 January.
Some of the content shared by users on the Parler app
Mr Matze said Parler had “no way to organise anything” and pointed out that Facebook groups and events had been used to organise action.
But Apple said: “Our investigation has found that Parler is not effectively moderating and removing content that encourages illegal activity and poses a serious risk to the health and safety of users in direct violation of your own terms of service.”
“We won’t distribute apps that present dangerous and harmful content.”
We anticipate more action to be taken by Google and other tech giants too, as the Capitol Hill incident has only opened up a can of worms that have been avoided and pushed aside for far too long in regards to sensitive issues.
Also read: Donald Trump Blocked by Twitter and Facebook
Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana has a taste for all kinds of topics and usually writes about tech, entertainment, sports and community projects that make a difference in society.