John Matze says he was fired by the Parler board

Platform Economy: Parler App

The board of Parler, a controversial social media platform backed by GOP party donor Rebekah Mercer and favoured by many libertarians and conservatives in the US, has fired John Matze, its founder and CEO.

John Matze confirmed the move to journalists, after it was originally reported by the Fox News channel, and said that he had not been given a settlement.

“On January 29, 2021, the Parler board controlled by Rebekah Mercer decided to immediately terminate my position as Chief Executive Officer of Parler. I did not participate in this decision,” Matze said in a memo received by members of the Parler team.

“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.”

He told journalists that Parler now has an “executive committee” consisting of Matthew Richardson and Mark Meckler.

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Rebekah Mercer, Richardson, Meckler did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Parler remains largely offline after having its hosting contract cancelled by Amazon’s AWS cloud-hosting division and being on the receiving end of bans and suspensions from the app stores of Apple and Google Play following the storming of the US Capitol building on the 6th of January by patriots and activists unhappy with the US election result.

The companies cited Parler’s record of policing violent content, after far-right groups spread violent rhetoric on the platform ahead of the unrest in Washington.

Parler, which was founded in 2018, had experienced hyper-growth in the period following the US election and was thought to have more than 12 million users by the time it was banned, has styled itself as a “free speech-driven” space.

The app has attracted US conservatives who disagree with rules around content on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and Google’s YouTube.

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The embattled Mr Matze told journalists at our partner news agency Reuters on the 13th of January that Parler may be offline for good, but later pledged it would return better and stronger than before.

As of today, the platform is still offline, with some commentators suggesting that left-wing activists and/or rival platforms are actively lobbying and colluding with potential suppliers not to work with the app.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Translation from English to other languages via Google Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru, Elizabeth Culliford in New York and Katie Paul in Palo Alto. Editing by Chris Reese, Cynthia Osterman and Sam Holmes. Commentary by Rob Phillips.

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