In the hours and days after a crowd of President Trump’s loyalists stormed the Capitol, the country’s largest tech companies began shutting down accounts that sparked the rampage. In the days and weeks prior to the attack, President Trump had used his Twitter feed and Facebook page to spread the lie that he had won the November election. It was this lie that helped bring the mob to the Capitol last Wednesday following a speech by the president.

Facebook said the risks were too great to allow the president’s contributions. Twitter followed suit. The focus shifted to Parler, a favorite app for right-wing figures. Apple and Google cited posts on Parler that encouraged violence and crime and removed the app from their app stores. Then Amazon stopped hosting it.

For Big Tech, last week’s events raised tricky questions about politics, free speech, and people radicalizing online.

How Parler, a chosen app by Trump fans, became a test of free speech

The app renewed a debate about who …



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