23 Feb 2021 Apple Won’t Reverse Parler Purge
CEO Tim Cook Refuses to Allow Social Media Platform to Be Restored to App Store
Washington, D.C. – Apple CEO Tim Cook dodged a question today from the Free Enterprise Project (FEP) about the company’s refusal to return Parler to its App Store. The social media application, especially popular among conservative Americans, has been unavailable in the store, and thus on Apple devices, since its removal in January.
During the company’s virtual annual shareholder meeting, Justin Danhof, Esq., Director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s FEP, submitted this question to Cook:
Now that Parler is back online with increased safeguards, when will it be allowed back on the App Store? It was one of the most downloaded apps in 2020 and reached number 1 in January. And while I disagree with its actions, Facebook’s recent removal of massive amounts of content – largely conservative voices – means that it trafficked for years in what the left calls “hate speech.” Why was it never removed from the App Store?
Cook took several softball questions and ignored Danhof’s. Danhof responded:
Apple can claim that it removed Parler from its App Store for violating its terms of service, but everyone knows it did so as part of the left’s ongoing effort to cancel conservative voices. And by instantly preventing millions of conservative voices from communicating, Apple proved that it is one of the biggest bullies around.
Do you know what other voices Apple has silenced? Those of the Hong Kong freedom fighters. At the height of the Hong Kong protests, Apple removed an app that the freedom fighters were using to communicate. In America, Apple works to do the bidding of the political left. In China, it does the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party. In 2021, this is increasingly a distinction without a difference.
Apple’s targeting of Parler was done in association with Amazon and other technology companies, a cooperation that succeeded in temporarily disabling Parler, a direct competitor to other Big Tech platforms that remain available in the App Store. FEP leaders note that this raises concerns about discrimination, bias and anti-competitive collusion, and therefore legislative, regulatory and legal risks to Apple.
Scott Shepard, Deputy Director of FEP, who also attended the meeting, observed:
Apple’s recent behavior must give investors pause. Apple is one of the most valuable companies in the world, but it is running significant risks. By banning Parler in concert with other efforts to destroy the platform, it is colluding with others in its markets to drive out competitors. And it’s using its closed, market-restricting App Store as its weapon, all in an effort to subordinate and antagonize at least half of the country.
Cook argued in his presentation that Apple does not have market power in any area. But its App Store model is one that has absolute power over what owners of Apple products can access, and it certainly has market power when it combines with other big-tech companies. The risk of antitrust enforcement and additional regulation and legislation at the state level and in future administrations grows with every abuse of market power.
Conservative investors interested in opposing the leftward drift of Corporate America should download FEP’s Investor Value Voter Guide.
To schedule an interview with a member of the Free Enterprise Project on this or other issues, contact Judy Kent at (703) 477-7476.
Launched in 2007, the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project focuses on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. Over the past four years alone, FEP representatives have participated in over 100 shareholder meetings – advancing free-market ideals about health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and other important public policy issues. As the leading voice for conservative-minded investors, it annually files more than 90 percent of all right-of-center shareholder resolutions. Dozens of liberal organizations, however, annually file more than 95 percent of all policy-oriented shareholder resolutions and continue to exert undue influence over corporate America.
FEP activity has been covered by media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Variety, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Drudge Report, Business Insider, National Public Radio and SiriusXM. FEP’s work was prominently featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassel’s 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for email updates here. Follow us on Twitter at @FreeEntProject and @NationalCenter for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.