Parler CEO Says He Was Forced Out After App Shutdown

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Parler app logo seen on the screen of smartphone

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Parler terminated its CEO and Co-Founder John Matze at the end of January 2021, according to a memo written by Matze that was obtained by Fox Business.

In the memo Matze wrote to the controversial social media app’s staffers, he explained that he was fired by the company’s board, which is controlled by Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer. The Mercer family has previously financed conservative causes, including Breitbart News and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

However, in a statement shared with Newsweek, Parler’s Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff said that Matze's characterization of his termination was "inaccurate and misleading."

Matze, who says he didn’t participate in the board’s decision, complained that he had met constant resistance over the past few months about his product vision, belief in free speech, and view of how Parler should be managed. “For example, I advocated for more product stability and what I believe is a more effective approach to content moderation," he wrote. Parler

Unlike other social media sites, Parler leaves virtually all moderation decisions up to its user base through a quorum-based community jury system. The system allows users to choose whether to apply filters that hide content like hate speech, graphic violence, and pornography.

Parler has been widely embraced by supporters of former US President Donald Trump and experienced a surge in new users following the suspension of Trump’s Twitter account. Parler’s lax content moderation guidelines led it to become a haven for white supremacists, domestic terrorists, and followers of the QAnon pro-Trump conspiracy theory.

Both Google and Apple delisted the app from their stores after it came to light that the app was used as a staging site for the deadly Capitol Hill riots. Amazon’s AWS went a step further and terminated Parler’s hosting services contract, effectively shuttering the app at the time. Parler's social network remains inaccessible, however, the company said this week that it will relaunch “very soon,” according to Newsweek.

"I have worked endless hours and fought constant battles to get the Parler site running but at this point, the future of Parler is no longer in my hands," he continued. "I want to thank the Parler employees, the people on Parler and Parler supporters for their tireless work and devotion to the company. They are an amazing group of diverse, hardworking and talented individuals and I have the utmost respect for them. Many of them have become my second family."

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