Apple CEO Tim Cook Hopes Parler ‘Comes Back’ After Fixing Content Moderation

Apple CEO Tim Cook Hopes Parler ‘Comes Back’ After Fixing Content Moderation
Apple CEO Tim Cook listens as President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with technology industry leaders at Trump Tower in New York, on Dec. 14, 2016. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)
Janita Kan

Apple CEO Tim Cook said he hopes social media platform Parler returns to his company’s app store after they fix issues with content moderation.

The technology giant’s top executive made the comments during an interview on the Sway podcast after defending his company’s decision to remove Parler over its alleged lax approach to violent content posted by its users.

“In some ways, it was a straightforward decision, because they were not adhering to the guidelines of the App Store. You can’t be inciting violence or allow people to incite violence,” Cook said. “You can’t allow hate speech and so forth. And they had moved from moderating to not being able to moderate. But we gave them a chance to cure that. And they were unable to do that or didn’t do that. And so we had to pull them off.”

He added that despite the enforcement action, he hopes Parler will “come back on,” saying that Apple works “hard to get people on the store, not to keep people off the store.”

“I’m hoping that they put in the moderation that’s required to be on the store and come back,” he said. “I think having more social networks out there is better than having less.”

Cook’s comments represent the latest in an ongoing feud between Parler and Big Tech companies that had sought to terminate the platform’s operation following the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol breach. Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores, while Amazon removed the platform from its web hosting service. All three companies took issue with the company’s alleged lax approach to violent content posted by its users and “repeated violations” of their terms of service related to such violent content.

Parler’s Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff responded to Cook’s comment in an email to The Epoch Times, saying that the company is looking forward to returning to Apple’s App Store, and adding that they were happy to hear that Apple valued diversity in social media networks.

“We are happy to hear that Tim Cook believes, as we do, that it’s better for everyone if there are more social networks available, not fewer. Moreover, we agree wholeheartedly with Apple’s guiding principle of collecting as little personal data from users as possible and will continue to improve our implementation of this principle as we rebuild our stack and upgrade our apps. We look forward to working with Apple to get back on the App Store as soon as possible,” Peikoff said.

She also reiterated that Parler has “always prohibited threatening or inciting content on our platform” and proactively worked with “law enforcement in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6.” The company recently shared this information to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

In a letter to committee members, Parler said that it had referred “violent content and incitement” from its platform to the FBI over 50 times before Jan. 6. It also warned the bureau about “specific threats of violence being planned” about the Jan. 6 incident.

The company added that it had formalized its working relationship with the FBI in November 2020 and began to regularly forward screenshots of unlawful posts that called for violence or merited additional investigation for public safety. Such posts included users threatening to kill former Attorney General Bill Barr and other politicians.

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