Apple Inc.

AAPL 0.51%.

The computer and smartphone company informed lawmakers in a letter Monday that it plans to make the Parler social media app available again in the App Store.

In January, Apple removed Parler from its app store for allegedly offensive content. In a letter to Senator M(Ike Lee) of Utah and.

Reporter Ken Buck

Apple announced Monday in Colorado that it is releasing an updated version of the Talk app with improved moderation of content for Apple users.

The letter from Apple was sent

Twitter

TWTR -3.11%

from Mr. Buck, and it was signed by Mr. Lee’s office confirming. Apple declined to comment. Mr. Parler did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In the letter, Apple reiterates its original decision to remove Talk from the App Store, citing posts that denigrate race and religion, promote Nazi ideology and incite violence. Apple has had serious conversations with Parler since January, and the app developer has proposed updates to its platform and content moderation policies, Apple said.

App Review Group informed Parler on April 14, 2021, that the proposed updated app would be approved for reinstatement in the App Store, the letter said. The letter, which did not mention the changes made by Parler, followed a request made by Messrs. Lee and Buck to Apple last month.

Buck said on Twitter that the decision was a major victory for free speech.

Founded in 2018, Parler LLC came to the center of a debate about internet companies and free speech when it gained popularity among supporters of the then president.

Donald Trump.

Big Tech’s deplatforming of former President Donald Trump has sparked a debate about the future of content moderation on social media. The WSJ talks to an expert on misinformation and moderation about what lies ahead. (Video of 1/22/21)

Parler’s format is similar to that of Twitter Inc. Its rise has coincided with a more aggressive effort by Twitter to report or remove content it deems offensive or misleading. In February, Parler claimed to have more than 20 million users, as reported on the European Commission’s website.

Mark Meckler,

its acting Director-General.

Parler has emerged as a rival to Twitter, with a hands-off approach to moderating content. The policy has made the platform an attractive online venue for the president’s supporters, who were outraged by Twitter’s approach to restricting content when Trump raised doubts about the 2020 election results and Twitter eventually suspended his account.

Sir, I’m sorry. Trump doesn’t have a Speak account, but conservative commentators like it.

Sean Hannity

and Mark Levin have an active presence on the platform. Lawmakers, Mr. Trump has strongly supported, including

Rep. Devin Nunes.

California and

Reporter Marjorie Taylor Green.

Georgia, also have active accounts, like Mr. Buck.

After the mob attack on the Capitol on the 6th. In January, Apple and other major tech companies quickly severed ties with Parler, which provided a forum for some of those involved in the attack to discuss their plans.

Amazon.com Inc.

AMZN -0.81%.

Parler has been suspended from web hosting services.

Alphabet Inc,

GOOG 0.20%.

like Apple, has also removed Parler from its App Store.

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Responding to criticism that he was being used as a staging ground for a staged attack on Capitol Hill, Parler said he gave the FBI dozens of examples of violent content in the weeks leading up to the Washington crowd.

Apple had already rejected Parler’s first attempt to rehire him.

Evelyn Doak,

According to a Harvard Law School professor who focuses on content moderation, technology platforms, including Apple, need to provide clearer guidelines for acceptable content.

If Apple wants to get started as a content gatekeeper, it needs to be much more transparent about its claims, Doak said.

Parler has sued Amazon for shutting down its web hosting services, claiming it did so for anti-competitive reasons. Parler gained limited functionality in February after obtaining Internet services from Los Angeles-based data center SkySilk Inc. Users could access the service through a web browser or if they had previously installed the application on their mobile devices.

The application is still not available in the Google Play Store. A spokesperson for Parler said the company has not actively tried to bring the app back to the store, as it can be accessed in other ways. Parler provides instructions on its website that allow users to install the app on Android devices without going to the official app store.

A Google spokesperson said Parler could be available on the Google Play Store after submitting an app that meets the guidelines.

-Paul Ziobro contributed to this article.

Email Matt Grossman at [email protected]

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