Wimkin's founder says his company is being treated unfairly after its app was removed by Google and Apple app stores

Wimkin's founder says his company is being treated unfairly after its app was removed by Google and Apple app stores
The Capitol building. Smaller social media networks attracted thousands of new users after the Capitol riots.Terraxplorer/Getty Images
  • Wimkin said its users spiked about 20% after the Capitol riots, before Google removed the app.
  • "We do not plan to shut down," said Jason Sheppard, Wimkin's founder.
  • A Google spokesperson said it didn't allow apps that "depict or facilitate gratuitous violence."

Alternative social media network Wimkin enjoyed a spike of around 20% in new users in the 12 days between the Capitol siege and Monday, when Google removed it from its app store, said its founder.

Jason Sheppard told Insider it gained about 55,000 new users, breaking the milestone of 300,000 users.

Now, after Google and Apple both removed the app, new users will have to download Wimkin directly from the company's homepage. That will make it more difficult to add users accustomed to app stores. But the social network, doesn't plan to call it quits.

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"We do not plan to shut down," Sheppard said.

Wimkin was launched in August 2020 as a free speech social network, an alternative to larger sites like Twitter and Facebook.


Some users who've been banned or suspended from larger social networks have found new audiences on smaller alternative networks. Parler, for example, shot to the top of the app store after the Capitol siege.

Apple and Google removed both Parler, which went dark when it was also removed from its web host, Amazon Web Services. Parler's website came back online this week.

For Wimkin, Apple and Google each cited a lack of moderation for dangerous content, according to messages shared by the company.

A Google spokesperson told Insider: "We don't allow apps that depict or facilitate gratuitous violence or other dangerous activities."

Read more: How Silicon Valley banished Donald Trump in 48 hours


Wimkin said Google and Apple sent it nine screenshots (four from Google and five from Apple) as part of a back-and-forth exchange over Wimkin's moderation.

In those screenshots, shared with Insider, one user called for a militia to form in Washington on January 6. Others featured general violent rhetoric. One post, which was accompanied by a picture of President Donald Trump, read: "Its time for all Patriots to prepare for a possible armed conflict with the treasonous individual's who are trying to destroy our country."

Like Parler, Wimkin increased its moderation efforts after Google and Apple sought changes. The company increased its moderation team from four to eight people, it said. That was more than enough "to police content," said Sheppard.

It also said it was increasing word-banning filters, adding Google Vision, an image-recognition system, and making other updates. Still, Sheppard said he was notified of Google's removal decision Monday evening.

"We're being treated entirely unfairly and if we aren't reinstated when we've worked tirelessly to comply and become a better platform, we will be seeking legal remedy to at the very least, shed some light into this tyrannical monopoly," Sheppard said via email.