Apple CEO Tim Cook Says Parler Can Return to App Store If It Ups Moderation

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has said Parler could return to the App Store if the social media site implemented a content moderation policy that meets Apple's requirements.

Cook spoke to Fox News host Chris Wallace in an interview that scheduled to air on Fox News Sunday. A preview of the interview was shown on Fox News on Friday.

Apple and Google suspended and removed Parler's app from their download stores following the deadly riot at the Capitol on January 6, citing moderation issues.

"How did you decide to balance free speech with objectionable content?" Wallace asked Cook in reference to the suspension of the Parler app.

"We looked at the incitement to violence that was on there, and we don't consider that free speech and incitement to violence has an intersection," Cook said.

Wallace then asked: "What about the argument that by taking Parler off Apple, in addition to what other companies are doing, that you are just driving these people, these views further underground?"

"We have only suspended them, Chris," Cook replied. "And so, if they get their moderation together, they would be back on there."

Parler CEO John Matze posted a statement on the site last week saying Apple was applying a "horrible double standard." Parler had been favored by some conservatives who were unhappy with Twitter's content moderation policies.

"Apple, Google and the rest of the anti-competitive pack of big tech tyrants coordinate their moves and work together to stifle competition in the marketplace," Matze said.

Matze's statement is no longer available at the site after Amazon's website hosting service—Amazon Web Services (AWS)—pulled Parler from its service last Sunday. The site cannot now be reached.

Matze told Reuters on Wednesday that he was not sure when Parler would return.

"It could be never," the CEO said. "We don't know yet."

"I am an optimist. It may take days, it may take weeks but Parler will return and when we do we will be stronger," Matze said later.

Google also suspended Parler from its Play Store last week in the wake of the riot.

Parler, which bills itself as a pro-free speech alternative to Twitter, is now the focus of scrutiny about the role it may have played in the violent events.

Apple, Amazon and Google all cited Parler's content moderation policy as the reason for their decision. However, Matze has claimed Amazon's move was motivated by a desire to deny President Donald Trump a platform following his permanent suspension from Twitter.

"I believe AWS's decision to terminate service to Parler was based, not on expressed concerns about Parler's compliance with the AWS Agreement, but in part on a desire to deny President Trump a platform on any large social-media service," Matze said in a court filing against the online retail giant this week.

Parler has been asked for comment on this article.

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers the keynote address during a special event on September 10, 2019 in the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's Cupertino, California campus. Apple has suspended Parler from the App Store. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images