Apple CEO Tim Cook Defends Decision to Remove Parler From App Store: "We Don’t Consider That Free Speech"

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks on-stage during a product launch event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino - Getty-H 2019
Josh Edelson /AFP/ Getty Images

While speaking with Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday,' Cook said Parler could return "if they get their moderation together."

Apple CEO Tim Cook is speaking out against the riot that took place at the U.S. Capitol and defending the decision to remove Parler from Apple's App Store.

While speaking with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Cook said it was "one of the saddest moments of my life seeing an attack on our Capitol, an attack on our democracy."

"I felt like I was in some sort of alternate reality to be honest with you. This could not be happening," he added.

Following the riot, Apple suspended the conservative leaning social media platform Parler from its App Store, noting in a statement: "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 threats to people’s safety. We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues."

"We're always trying to do the right thing," Cook said, arguing against President Donald Trump's criticism of "Big Tech" preventing free speech.

"We obviously don't control what's on the internet but we've never viewed that our platform should be a simple replication of the internet. We have rules and regulations and we just ask that people abide by those," he explained, adding that they pulled the plug after seeing an apparent "incitement to violence."

"We don’t consider that free speech and incitement to violence has an intersection."

Cook also emphasized that Apple hosts over two million apps but they all must abide by terms of service.

When Wallace questioned whether the ban would simply drive those on the app underground, Cook reiterated, "We've only suspended them Chris. If they get their moderation together they would be back on there."

Calls for Parler to be banned from Apple and Google's app stores increased after reports showcased that app users were encouraging violence in their exchanges prior to the Capitol riot.

In the aftermath of the violence, Twitter permanently suspended President Donald Trump's account over "risk of further incitement of violence" and deleted additional tweets the president attempted to post following the ban. Facebook also blocked Trump's account.