Tim Cook Explained Why Apple Banned MAGA-Friendly Parler On Fox News: ‘We Don’t Consider That Free Speech’

The online fallout from the failed MAGA coup attempt in Washington earlier in the month has cost Donald Trump his Twitter account and many of his followers their favorite social media site. And now Tim Cook has explained in more detail why Parler was banned from his company’s app store in the first place.

Trump himself never officially joined the platform, even after Twitter deactivated his account and permanently banned him. But the social media site was extremely popular with Trump supporters, and its user base swelled in the aftermath of Trump losing the election in November. As the Apple CEO explained in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Apple’s decision to remove Parler from its app store was a fairly easy one to make in the aftermath of the insurrection in Washington because of the role it played in organizing its users to carry out the coup attempt.

During the interview, Cook called the events in Washington that left five people dead “one of the saddest moments of my life seeing an attack on our Capitol, an attack on our democracy.”

“I felt like I was in some sort of alternate reality to be honest with you,” he said. “This could not be happening.”

Parler’s ban came days after that attack, and 24 hours after Apple warned the company in a letter that it needed to show it had implemented content moderation to limit inciting violence.

“We’re always trying to do the right thing,” Cook said before noting that Apple is not the only arbiter of content online. But to be in their app store, Cook argued that there are certain safety standards they ask millions of other apps to follow.

“We obviously don’t control what’s on the internet but we’ve never viewed that our platform should be a simple replication of the internet,” Cook said. “We have rules and regulations and we just ask that people abide by those.”

Cook said it was clear Parler needed to go after it played a very obvious role in the “incitement to violence” in Washington.

“We don’t consider that free speech,” he said. “And incitement to violence has an intersection.”

Cook also made a point to note that Parler was not permanently banned, making it clear that if the company were to actually moderate content to limit hate speech and threats of violence, they would reconsider adding them back to the store.

“We’ve only suspended them Chris,” Cook said. “If they get their moderation together they would be back on there.”

The larger problem for Parler right now, however, is that they have nowhere to exist online. Amazon ending its association with the company means the site is offline with nowhere to put its data, even if it could get back into mobile stores and find new users.