It is bizarre enough when Google, Facebook, and Twitter ban conservative expression. But it is incredible when Apple does the same thing with its products (smartphones and tablets). A service provider, like Google, Facebook, or Microsoft, has some latitude in how it provides its services. A product manufacturer however, has no such latitude. It is liable for all defects that impair the product’s function, which used to be unintentional. Third party apps are the main feature of a smartphone. However, Apple uses its App Store to impair iPhone when the consumers want to view conservative information, use social networks that do not discriminate against conservatives (like Parler), and access healthcare information which Apple does not like or which tends to cut into its profits. Even more egregiously, Apple lies to its consumers about these actions.
In other words, iPhone buyers have the right to use Parler, Gab, and whatever other apps are banned by Apple, and have legal standing to protect this right. Apple cannot simply take away this right, through a user agreement that all users are forced to “accept.”
In November 2016, Apple removed the Breitbart app for a few days. In the same time Apple allowed an anti-Breitbart app – News Pro-Breitbart Edition – even though it was clearly infringing on Breitbart’s trademark. Many people alarmed by the ban found News Pro-Breitbart Edition, and concluded that the ban on Breitbart was a conspiracy theory.
Breitbart was one of the top media websites, ranking in line with Bloomberg and CBS News, and above ABC News and the Guardian.
“Apple simply doesn’t make it possible to sideload apps on its mobile operating systems” – Wired, 2020
2021-04-09 update: Apple also threatens developers and content providers whose apps it rejected. From App Store Review Guidelines (September 2014):
“If your App is rejected, we have a Review Board that you can appeal to. If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps.”
This threat was there from 2010.