Truth Social isn’t allowed in Google’s app store yet, but another ostensibly anything-goes social network in the same orbit just made a comeback there. Parler, a social app designed to appeal to pro-Trump social media users turned off of mainstream platforms, has returned to the Google Play Store more than a year after getting the boot.
Google removed Parler in January of last year over concerns that content on the app incited violence during the Capitol attack. While Parler agreed to scan for hate speech and clean up some posts on the iOS version of the app to get back in Apple’s App Store, the Android version of Parler never made a return to Android’s official app marketplace. While it wasn’t officially offered on the mobile operating system, the Android version of Parler remained available on the app’s website for direct download, an option not available for iOS apps.
Google explained the decision to reinstate Parler in a statement provided to TechCrunch:
It looks likely that Parler decided to implement the same additional moderation measures that the app added on iOS to get back into the Google Play Store. Google notes that the app made meaningful changes to come into compliance with the company’s policies, addressing the concerns over incitements to violence that led Google to pull it more than a year ago.
Republican donor and Trump backer Rebekah Mercer pushed out Parler’s founding CEO John Matze early last year, though Mercer has mostly kept a low profile at the company. A founding investor in Parler, she reportedly sought to steer the app and maintain its post-election momentum as major tech platforms tightened their rules about extremist content following the January 6 attack on the Capitol.