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Friday Night Massacre: Twitter purges Trump, Parler faces bans from Apple and Google

Major developments occur after chaotic week including riot at U.S. Capitol.

Updated: January 9, 2021 - 12:39pm

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Tech companies on Friday night made significant moves against conservative presences on their respective servers, with Twitter purging major high-profile conservative accounts including President Donald Trump, who received a permanent ban..

Apple, meanwhile, threatened to blacklist Parler in its app store over the company's content moderation policies, while Google outright banned the app from its own software-sharing system.

Twitter on Friday officially banned Trump from its platform, citing his two recent tweets stating his intent to skip Joe Biden's inauguration and offering praise to his his millions of supporters, which the company said constituted violations of its "glorification of violence" policy. 

"[O]ur determination," the company wrote, "is that the two Tweets ... are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so."

Twitter on Friday also banned the accounts of Trump attorney Sidney Powell and former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, arguing that the two had spread false information related to the QAnon conspiracy theory and had thus violated the company's content rules. 

The alternative social media app Parler, meanwhile — which has billed itself as a free-speech alternative to Twitter's content moderation policies and which has attracted a growing number of conservative users in recent months — faced major pressure from tech giants Apple and Google to rewrite its content rules.

Apple informed Parler that it would ban it from its App Store software sharing system if Parler did not reform its moderation policies to more stringently police reportedly violent speech. 

Google, meanwhile, booted Parler from its own app store, citing the app's failure to engage in "robust moderation for egregious content."

"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," Google said. 

Users are still able to add apps to their phones in the event that such apps are removed from official company software services, though the overwhelming majority of apps are accessed via official app stores, which constitute a major source of engagement for software developers. 

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