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Why has Parler´s CEO been fired?

Parler, the “free speech-driven” social media app that became a favorite of US conservatives, that was driven offline has terminated CEO John Matze.

Parler, the “free speech-driven” social media app that became a favorite of US conservatives, that was driven offline has terminated CEO John Matze.

Parler has been largely offline since Amazon Web Services and the app stores of Apple and Google dropped the company from their services after the 6 January siege of the US Capitol. The platform became a favorite for supporters of former President Trump when other social media sites began tagging his messages as misleading or false.

The former CEO was ousted at the end of January but recently informed Parler staff in a memo first obtained by Fox News that “I did not participate in this decision. I understand that those who now control the company have made some communications to employees and other third parties that have unfortunately created confusion and prompted me to make this public statement."

Why was John Matze fired?

"On January 29, 2021, the Parler board controlled by Rebekah Mercer decided to immediately terminate my position as CEO of Parler.” Matze wrote in his memo to staff. "Over the past few months, I’ve met constant resistance to my product vision, my strong belief in free speech and my view of how the Parler site should be managed. For example, I advocated for more product stability and what I believe is a more effective approach to content moderation."

The company has not responded to requests for comment.

The company has been trying to get Amazon to restore Parler’s cloud services through the courts claiming that Parler’s abrupt shutdown was motivated at least partly by “a desire to deny President Trump a platform on any large social-media service.” The judge overhearing the case didn’t dismiss the case but didn’t force Amazon to host the company on its web service.

Parler the upstart “free speech-driven" social media app

Parler was founded in 2018 as a “free speech-driven" space. Conservative activist Rebekah Mercer and her father, hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer were among the company’s funders. In June, Conservative commentator Dan Bongino said he was also taking an ownership stake in the company.

The social media network largely attracted US conservatives who disagreed with rules around content on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. It became one of the most downloaded apps in the fall as conservatives and Trump supporters migrated to the site upset with the limits put on the former President’s posts. In January, it said it had over 12 million registered users.

The lights go out at Parler

Parler effectively “went dark” after Amazon suspended its web hosting service and will remain so unless it can find a replacement. Amazon, along with Apple and Google, said Parler was not doing enough to prevent the spread of posts inciting violence, following unrest at the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters.

Matze has said the company “does not condone or accept violence” on its platform. However far-right groups that appeared at the riot maintained a active online presence on Parler and other alternative platforms  where they spread violent rhetoric and organized ahead of the unrest. The rioters also used the platform to livestream the assault on the US Capitol.

Parler was expected to relaunch before February but that has been delayed. According to Fox News a company insider said the delay was due to “new branding and changes occurring within the company for the sake of stability.”


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