Parler CEO says he has been fired by board

Parler CEO says he has been fired by board

Parler CEO John Matze said he has been fired by the board of the social media company, which has not been running since the deadly siege against the Capitol last month.

Matze revealed his apparent departure in a memo to colleagues that was obtained by Fox Business on Wednesday. In it, he said that the decision to leave the social media company, which was favored by supporters of former President Donald Trump, was out of his hands.

“On January 29, 2021, the Parler board controlled by Rebekah Mercer decided to immediately terminate my position as CEO of Parler. I did not participate in this decision,” he said. “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.”

Amazon removed Parler from its cloud-hosting service because it said the social media platform was not effectively moderating and removing violent material, including “egregious content” related to the Capitol violence on Jan. 6.

Matze said in the memo that he has “met constant resistance to my product vision, my strong belief in free speech and my view of how the Parler site should be managed” during the past few months.

“For example, I advocated for more product stability and what I believe is a more effective approach to content moderation,” Matze wrote. “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.”

Dan Bongino, a conservative personality and part-owner of the website, disputed Matze’s version of the events. Bongino released a six-minute rebuke shortly after news broke of the CEO’s firing, claiming “the story you’re hearing unfortunately is not correct.”

“This is an outrageous attack against people who have done nothing but work day and night to get this site back up and to fight back against these cancel culture goons,” he said. “To get knee-capped like this by someone we trusted is a disgrace. He is no white knight in this story.”

The “free speech vision” was the view of Bongino and the two part-owners of Parler, he added. He indicated Matze did not share this ideal, was not committed to product stability and insinuated he made some “really bad decisions” from the “inside” of the network.

Parler had pushed back against Amazon Web Services’s decision to deplatform the site in court, although the judge ruled in favor of Amazon.

A spokesperson for Amazon Web Services told the Washington Examiner at the time that this “was not a case about free speech” and accused Parler of “consistently” violating its terms of service by allowing violent content to be published on the platform.

Parler had argued that AWS’s actions against it were anti-competitive, unfair, and politically biased since Twitter, which has also been known to feature violent content, was still up and running.

In addition to Amazon, Apple and Google also cut ties with Parler and removed the social media app, which is similar to Twitter, from their respective platforms.

Parler was expected to relaunch before the start of February, although those plans got delayed, according to Fox Business.

Jake Dima contributed to the reporting of this story.

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