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Threat of inauguration violence casts a long shadow over social media

As the U.S. heads into one of the most perilous phases of American democracy since the Civil War, social media companies are scrambling to shore up their patchwork defenses for a moment they appear to have believed would never come.
Most major platforms pulled the emergency break last week, deplatforming the president of the United States and enforcing suddenly robust rules against conspiracies, violent threats and undercurrents of armed insurrection, all of which proliferated on those services for years. But within a week’s time, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Google had all made historic decisions in the name …

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This Week in Apps: Parler deplatformed, alt apps rise, looking back at 2020 trends

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.
The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020.
Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the U.S., app usage surged ahead of the time spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, but now spends four hours per day on their mobile devices.
Apps aren’t …

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Facebook blocks new events around DC and state capitols

As a precaution against coordinated violence as the U.S. approaches President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, Facebook announced a few new measures it’s putting in place.
In a blog post and tweets from Facebook Policy Communications Director Andy Stone, the company explained that it would block any events slated to happen near the White House, the U.S. Capitol or any state capitol building through Wednesday.

Update: Through Inauguration Day, we’re blocking the creation of new Facebook events happening in close proximity to DC and state capitols. And we’re doing a secondary review of inauguration-related events and removing policy-violating …

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Amazon is removing products promoting the QAnon conspiracy

Amazon has begun the process of removing QAnon-related products from its platform.
A spokesperson for the company said that the process may take a few days. Any sellers that attempt to evade the company’s systems and list products will be subject to action, including a blanket selling ban across Amazon stores.
News of the ban was first reported by The New York Times.
The company is shutting down the nation’s newest favorite conspiracy theory by removing products sold by QAnon adherents from its platform after supporters were prominently on display at the riot in the nation’s Capitol …

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San Francisco police are prepping for a pro-Trump rally at Twitter headquarters

San Francisco police are preparing for a pro-Trump protest at Twitter’s headquarters, a building which has been essentially abandoned since the start of the pandemic last year, with most Twitter employees working remotely.
The potential protest comes days after Twitter banned the president from using its service — his favorite form of communication to millions of followers — following what the company called his continued incitements to violence in the wake of the January 6 assault on the Capitol last week by a mob of his followers.
“The San Francisco Police Department is aware of the possibility of a demonstration on the 1300 …

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Stripe reportedly joins the tech platforms booting President Trump from their services

It might be easier at this point to ask which tech platforms President Donald Trump can still use.
Payment-processing company Stripe is the latest tech company to kick Donald Trump off of its platform, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
That means the president’s campaign website and online fundraising arms will no longer have access to the payment processor’s services, cutting off the Trump campaign from receiving donations.
Sources told the Journal that the reason for the company’s decision was the violation of company policies against encouraging violence.
The move comes as the president …

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Amazon Web Services gives Parler 24-hour notice that it will suspend services to the company

Parler is at risk of disappearing, just as the social media network popular among conservatives was reaching new heights of popularity in the wake of President Donald Trump’s ban from all major tech social platforms.Parler, whose fortunes have soared as users upset at the President’s silencing on mainstream social media outlets flocked to the service, is now another site of contention in the struggle over the limits of free speech and accountability online.
In the wake of the riots at the Capitol on Wednesday and a purge of accounts accused of inciting violence on Twitter and Facebook, …

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Apple suspends Parler from App Store

Apple confirmed that it has suspended the conservative social media app Parler from the App Store, shortly after Google banned it from Google Play. The app, which became a home to Trump supporters and several high-profile conservatives in the days leading up to the Capitol riots, had been operating in violation of Apple’s rules.
The company tells TechCrunch:
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 has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these …

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Parler reportedly removed posts by Trump affiliate Lin Wood calling for execution of VP Mike Pence

It seems that even the “free speech” social network Parler has its limits.
The social network that has attracted scores of conservative commentators because of its commitment to free speech has taken down several posts from Trump affiliate Lin Wood, according to a report in Mediaite.
In one of the posts removed from the social media platform, Wood called for the execution of Vice President Mike Pence .

In a statement to Mediaite, Parler chief executive John Matze confirmed that the service had taken action against Wood’s posts to the platform.
“Yes, some of his parleys that violated our rules …

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President Trump responds to Twitter account ban in tweet storm from @POTUS account

After Twitter took the major step Friday of permanently banning President Trump’s @realdonaldtrump Twitter account, the President aimed to get the last word in through his government account @POTUS which has a fraction of the Twitter followers but still offered the President a megaphone on the service to send out a few last tweets.
The tweets were deleted within minutes by Twitter which does not allow banned individuals to circumvent a full ban by tweeting under alternate accounts.
In screenshots captured by TechCrunch, Trump responds to the account ban by accusing Twitter employees of conspiring with his political opponents. “ …

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