Apple has removed the microblogging and social networking app, Parler, from its app store as the company cracks down on posts that spread misinformation and incite violence, according to the New York Times. The move comes after last week’s violent protests on Capitol Hill which left five people dead, including a police officer.
The New York Times confirmed that Parler was listed as the most popular free app on the Apple (AAPL) app store on Saturday morning but removed the app later in the day for insufficient policing of its content and allowing violence and crime to be encouraged.
In a statement on Saturday, Apple said, “We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity.”
Parler markets itself as a “free speech” and unbiased alternative to mainstream social networks, and its user base consists of a significant amount of Donald Trump supporters.
The New York Times described Parler as one of the fastest-growing apps in the United States, and poised to capitalize on the influx of users resulting from Donald Trump’s expulsion from Twitter (TWTR) last week. However, developments over the past 24 hours could now see the entire platform go offline, and users’ data permanently deleted.
Google (GOOGL) joined Apple in removing the Parler app from its flagship android app store, and Amazon (AMZN) has warned that it would remove Parler from its web-hosting service because of repeated violations of Amazon’s rules. (See AAPL stock analysis on TipRanks)
Merrill Lynch analyst Wamsi Mohan reiterated his Hold rating on AAPL last week and set a price target of $135 after a third-party publisher suggested that global App Store revenue through December 26th was approximately $5.7 billion, which equates to a year-on-year increase of more than 30%.
Mohan’s price target is in line with the Street’s average price target of $133.46 and implies that AAPL shares are almost fully priced at current levels.
Consensus among analysts is Moderate Buy based on 22 Buys, 6 Holds and 1 Sell.