Parler CEO John Matze was fired from his own company this week after suggesting the site increase its hitherto lackluster efforts to police third-party content.
If the site is to have any success competing with mainstream social media sites, he argued, it must begin to implement the sort of content moderation policies touted by Twitter and Facebook.
His suggestion sparked a fight with Rebekah Mercer, a GOP donor who leads Parler’s Board of Directors. “She was never really involved in the company at all,” said Matze of Mercer. “By the time November 2020 came around, she was ready to insert herself in every discussion.”
And it’s a good thing she did.
Without Mercer’s staunch commitment to the First Amendment, Parler could devolve into the very thing it was built to fight against.
“The owners and managers of the company worked tirelessly to build a resilient, non-partisan platform dedicated to freedom of expression, civil discourse, and user privacy,” explains Parler executive Amy Peikoff. “That has been and continues to be our vision, and any assertions to the contrary.”
Parler exploded in popularity when President Trump was ousted from Facebook and Twitter, becoming the most-downloaded app in the Apple app store in early January.
Parler was removed from the Internet last month when Amazon terminated its web hosting services over claims that Parler’s lack of content moderation helped facilitate the January 6th attack on the US Capitol (in reality, all major social media sites were used to plan the event).
Parler sued Amazon for breach of contract, but a federal court backed Amazon’s claim that Parler violated its end of the contract by refusing to remove violent content that Amazon had flagged.
Parler is expected to be back online and available to its 15 million users soon.
“We could have been up in a week if we just would have bent the knee,” says Dan Bongino, a conservative talkshow host and Parler investor. “John decided to make this public, not us…We were handling it like gentlemen.”