Apple CEO Tim Cook opted not to answer a question about the social media application Parler at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday.
Director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project Justin Danhof submitted a question asking when Parler would be re-allowed on Apple’s App Store. Parler, which emphasizes support for free speech and became a popular social media platform among conservatives in recent months, was removed from Apple’s App Store in January following the Capitol riot.
Parler was also removed from the Google Play Store and Amazon Web Services, rendering the platform unusable for some time. The companies claimed that Parler was instrumental in the organizing of the Capitol riot and was home to hate speech, which would be a violation of their terms of service.
In addition to not answering Danhof’s question—which he says Apple confirmed the receipt of a day before the meeting—Apple did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller about this situation.
Parler is back online but is still not available for download on either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The company did find a replacement web host after being dropped by Amazon, and the service is now back and fully operational, according to interim CEO Mark Meckler.
Meckler also said he expects the app to be allowed back onto the App Store in the coming days. “Discussions are ongoing … and I do expect they’re going to be happy with what we’re doing,” Meckler said regarding the ongoing negotiations between Apple and Parler. (RELATED: Parler CEO Says He’s Been Fired By Company Board)
The new CEO of @parler_app, @MarkMeckler, says the company is in talks with #Apple about allowing the app back onto the app store. #Parler #FreeSpeech #SocialMedia #VarneyCo pic.twitter.com/3NR89NjzRl
— Varney & Co. (@Varneyco) February 19, 2021
In his question for the Apple shareholder meeting, Danhof pointed out that Facebook had been home to so-called “hate speech” before recently removing vast swathes of content, and yet they were not banned from the App Store. Investigations have found that Facebook was used more than Parler to organize the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Danhof said in an interview with the Daily Caller that conservatives can exert their influence over Big Tech companies by simply showing up to vote at shareholder meetings. “What we have with many companies is the equivalent of a red state election every year that goes blue,” Danhof said. “The left coalesces together and they vote … conservatives can’t be bothered to open their email or open their snail mail and vote their corporate proxies.”
Some conservatives have called for legislation or executive action to address Big Tech biases and protect online speech. Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley has proposed reforms to Section 230, which protects digital platforms from legal requirements applied to content publishers. (RELATED: Parler Interim CEO Says The Company Is ‘Keeping All Our Legal Options Open’ Following Big Tech Pile On)
Danhof said that Section 230 reform could work, but he doesn’t believe in breaking up any companies. He also emphasized that corporate activism can be more effective than boycotts. “They know it’s a hollow threat … conservatives don’t actually boycott.”
Danhof also said that no government or consumer tactics should be wholly off the table. “Let’s throw all the spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks,” he said.