Wimkin: Google joins Apple in banning app described as ‘the next Parler’

QAnon conspiracy theorists and right wing users are once again thwarted in their efforts to regroup online following Big Tech bans

Anthony Cuthbertson
Thursday 21 January 2021 14:54 GMT
Google has joined Apple by banning ‘free speech’ social media app Wimkin
Google has joined Apple by banning ‘free speech’ social media app Wimkin (AFP via Getty Images)
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Google has joined Apple by banning yet another social media app popular with far right users from its app store.

Wimkin, which describes itself as “100% uncensored social media”, had risen in popularity in recent weeks following a crackdown by more mainstream platforms like Facebook and Twitter against far right users accused of spreading conspiracy theories and inciting violence.

A Google spokesperson said Wimkin was removed from the Play Store due to posts calling for violence against liberals.

“We don’t allow apps that depict or facilitate gratuitous violence or other dangerous activities,” the spokesperson said.

It is the latest action from a Big Tech firm aimed at combating harmful content online in the wake of the violent insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January, which left five people dead.

The event was planned on social media apps by pro-Trump supporters in the two months leading up to the riots, with Twitter users and groups on Facebook promoting false claims about the integrity of the US election.

The mass banning of Facebook and Twitter users who pushed misleading content, including Donald Trump’s accounts, saw many people migrate to fringe apps like Parler and Wimkin.

Apple and Google both banned Parler earlier this month and have now taken action against the lesser-known Wimkin app, which has roughly 300,000 users according to The Wall Street Journal.

Wimkin, became a haven for adherents to the QAnon conspiracy theory, prompting one tech commentator to describe it as “the next Parler”.

A message on Wimkin’s website following the Google ban stated: “We are working on getting back in both Apple Store and Google Play. Thank You.”

According to the site’s Terms and Conditions, users are requested to comply with “acceptable use standards”, but adds that moderation of the platform only takes place “during normal business hours (9am-9pm EST)”.

These standards appear to be similar to Parler’s, in that they forbid nudity and pornographic materials. “Criminally harassing" contributions are also not allowed, though there appears to be no restrictions on content that is intended to mislead or incite violence.

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