Now That Parler Is Banned By Both Google & Apple, What’s Next?

How do we restore the ability of ordinary citizens to determine the truth?

Rob Sturgeon
Jan 10 · 5 min read
Parler is banned by apple google amazon
Image by CopleyNathan on Pixabay, altered by the author

Parler CEO John Matze has a peculiar take on what has just happened:

Apple will be banning Parler until we give up free speech, institute broad and invasive polices like twitter and Facebook and we become a surveillance platform by pursing guilt of those who use Parler before innocence.

It sounds like he refuses to make an app that could possibly abide by the rules of the app stores.

So what’s going to happen?

Between now and the passing of social media laws by the incoming Biden adminstration, we’re going to have a lot of chaos. The Parler app still works for every phone that has it installed, and the app was the top download on the App Store during the 24 hours Apple gave Parler to completely overhaul its app. The replies to Matze’s post are rolling in now, and they’re accusing big tech and the left of being both Communists and Fascists.

In the desperate scramble for alternatives, one person brandishes a tweet by V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, a man that claims he invented email but he actually didn’t. “As the Man Who Invented Email,” he says, “I will deliver you a platform that will Destroy #BigTech.” Look out for a social network in the near future from a guy who called for Dr Anthony Fauci to be fired and replaced with himself.

A lot of people are saying they’ll never buy an iPhone or a Mac again.

The reality, of course, is that they will be moving to browsers. Although iOS and Android are operating systems that make it difficult to install apps, the existence of browsers somewhat negates the ability of those companies to actually prevent anything. Only the government can take down websites unless Amazon suddenly decides that they don’t want their Web Services to be used by the company.

So far they have been silent, but the pressure on them is probably growing as the industry turns away from the platform.

It’s clear scrolling through Parler today that the anger is continuing to increase. The echo chamber is filled with burning rage, and the flames are only being fanned by every fresh (perceived) injustice. The problem is that Trump riled these people up in the first place, and CEO John Matze gave them a place to get riled up together. Fox News contributed to this feeling that the left is always evil and never helpful.

Even in the aftermath of potentially the worst US president of all time, those that stand to make money from peddling lies continue unabated. There is no stopping the torrent of misinformation that is lurking in every corner of the internet. In fact, the more Trump supporters realize that they can use encrypted chat platforms, the more this evidence of their crimes goes away.

There is an obvious problem with group chats compared to public forums, as only someone who infiltrates them can ever report on their behavior.

Mark Zuckerberg knew the world would go this way, which is probably why Facebook acquired WhatsApp in the first place. WhatsApp exists as a compromised chat platform that Facebook doesn’t deny it uses for targeting ads in various ways. It’s impossible to know how AI can save us from this eventuality, detecting keywords that could lead to violence and alerting the authorities, even though the rest of the content is encrypted end-to-end.

There will always be Trump supporters willing to build terrible apps, and there is always an ongoing effort to circumvent the app stores on mobile devices. In the scenario where the far-right goes dark, we may be in a situation where a former US president becomes in essence a terrorist leader. He has already talked about ‘great people on both sides’, he has already said that he loves those that stormed the Capitol.

The most bizarre possible ending to this unbelievable political era is beyond satire. It is beyond parody. The danger of Trump can even live on without Trump, as he is sure to become a martyr to their cause whether he goes to jail or dies as a result of eating Mcdonalds every day. The people on Parler are clearly desperate for a Messiah and, as the Republican Party gradually turns their backs on him, they are accusing everyone who enabled him to be traitors.

Just as he has done his entire life, Trump will accuse everyone he ever meets of being a traitor.

A political party loved the idea of power so much it enabled a wannabe dictator and attacked democracy.

Free speech is not about what app you can install on your phone, it’s the fact that you can’t be put in jail for what you say. If every company and politician are trying to distance themselves from you, it could be that you’re no longer useful to them. It could be that you’re wrong, and you believe so many lies that you’re never going to know how wrong you are.

How do we restore the ability of ordinary citizens to determine the truth? Social media has only allowed the uninformed to cluster together, and now we’re dealing with the consequences. Fox News has convinced people that it tells the truth because it seems implausible that a news channel would dedicate itself to a 24-hour cycle of misinformation. But it made them money, and it continues to make them money.

It’s not about the truth to them, it’s about money. How do you educate an entire nation, when everyone is reading their own private textbook? America has a long journey back to stability. The Biden administration will do what it can, but these are problems that have taken decades to create. There are no easy solutions to the problem of misinformation, but no company is obligated to allow their platform to be used to spread it.

Parler talks about how they don’t want to be responsible for spreading violent extremism, despite that being exactly what they do.

Apple and Google don’t either, and they have a right to make that call.

Rob Sturgeon

Written by

An iOS developer who writes about gadgets, startups and cybersecurity. Swift programming tutorials and SwiftUI documentation too.

The Big Tech

The Big Tech covers stories primarily from Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google and more.

Rob Sturgeon

Written by

An iOS developer who writes about gadgets, startups and cybersecurity. Swift programming tutorials and SwiftUI documentation too.

The Big Tech

The Big Tech covers stories primarily from Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google and more.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store