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AI-moderated Parler makes Apple App Store return

Victor Barreiro Jr.
AI-moderated Parler makes Apple App Store return

PARLER'S RETURN. Woman holding smartphone with Parler logo in front of displayed same logo in this illustration taken May 17, 2021.

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Parler's return to the Apple App Store comes with AI moderation changes, and a ban on 'hate speech'

Social media application Parler came back online on the Apple App Store Monday, May 17, though it returned slightly changed compared to its prior iterations.

Booted from Apple’s app store after the US Capitol insurrection on January 6, this new version of Parler has an artificial intelligence moderation system in place to block or otherwise hide what its AI deems “hate” content. Such content is not filtered on other smartphones or on web browsers.

Aside from the AI moderation, a Reuters report also noted some staffing changes. Former CEO John Matze’s position is now filled by Parler chief operations officer George Farmer, who took over for interim CEO Mark Meckler. Farmer was said to be “an active financial supporter and candidate for UK’s Brexit Party.”

The Apple version of Parler, as such, is a way of allowing the app to survive with most of its allure intact as a bastion of free expression.

Speaking with the Washington Post, Parler chief policy officer Amy Peikoff said, “At Parler we embrace the entire First Amendment meaning freedom of expression and conscience are protected.”

“We permit a maximum amount of legally protected speech,” she added.

Parler is pushing for Apple to allow a way for iPhone app users to acknowledge a warning label it might post on objectionable Parler posts and see what the AI system deems as hate speech.

The hate speech ban, however, was the condition needed for Parler’s return to the Apple App Store.

Moderation by Hive

The Washington Post report added Parler’s AI moderation is done with the help of Hive, a company which ex-CEO Matze hired on January 18.

Hive hires some 2.5 million human contractors to sift through the content of social media locales such as Reddit and Chatroulette for moderation purposes so as to improve its AI moderation systems.

In Parler, Hive’s AI analyzes all of its content as the primary filter, with more than 99.5% of Parler posts deemed safe on review by the algorithm, according to Hive and Parler’s statements.

The rest is left to about 1,000 contracted Hive moderators to evaluate, and thus improve the algorithm further.

‘Parler Lite’

Peikoff likens the Apple iteration of Parler as “Parler Lite or Parler PG.”

Users might still be able to get most of Parler on their iPhones, but for those who want the full unfiltered Parler, they’ll want to visit it on the web, or through an Android smartphone.

While Parler is still off the Google Play Store, it can be installed through a process called sideloading, which allows Android users to install the application file from Parler without going through Google’s store.

Due to sideloading as a means of bypassing the Play Store, Parler is not actively pushing to get itself back into Google’s good graces. – Rappler.com

Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.