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(Washington, D.C.) — In November, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and partners warned Google of the risk that Parler, an app falsely touting itself as the ‘free-speech’ version of Twitter, posed. Today, in the wake of an attempted coup planned in part on Parler, Google acted to remove the app from its app store.

“We are glad Google acted to remove Parler from its app store,” said Arusha Gordon, associate director of the James Byrd Jr. Center to Stop Hate at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “It is time companies enforce their terms of use and ensure their products are not used by white supremacists and others to organize violent attacks on our democracy.”

Google Play’s policies prohibit the type of content Parler is used to disseminate. The Developer Program Policy (“Hate Speech”) states that “[w]e don’t allow apps that promote violence, or incite hatred against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.”

A quick review of Parler makes clear that the app violates Google Play’s policies. The app is a haven for white supremacists and others that regularly post content that surpasses Google’s proscription of content that “promote[s] violence, or incite[s] hatred against individuals or

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groups.” Parler users regularly engage in violent and disturbing activity. For instance, the head of the Proud Boys used Parler to notify his followers in advance of a November 14 event in DC to protest the election results, directing members to show up in person, and implicitly telling them to incite violence, stating: “We’re rolling out. Standby order has been rescinded.” This message was viewed by over 80 thousand Parler users. Proud Boy members responded that they heard the call and would obey the instruction. One member observed, “As soon as I’m 100 percent back to full strength I’m gonna take out so many liberals that I’ll be able to stack the bodies as high as the heavens.” Unsurprisingly, numerous acts of violence – including vandalism of BLM signs at historic Black churches, assault, and battery – occurred in the streets of DC.

Parler was similarly downloaded from the Google app store and used to plan the attack on the Capitol this week. Proud Boy leaders shared flight itineraries in advance of the riot on the app. One of the leaders of the Proud Boys also used Parler to detail the coordinated steps the Proud Boys planned to take on December 6th.