John Matze, CEO of a social media platform Parler, got fired by the board on Wednesday. The social media platform is backed by Republican Party donor Rebekah Mercer and favoured by US conservatives.
In a memo sent to Parler staff Matze said, “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.”
Parler remains largely offline after being dropped by Amazon’s cloud-hosting division and the app stores of Apple and Google following the January 6 siege of the US Capitol. Matze told Reuters on January 13 that Parler may be offline for good, but later pledged it would return stronger. 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.
Founded in 2018, Parler is an American alt-tech microblogging and social networking service. It has a significant user base of Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, conspiracy theorists, and right-wing extremists. Posts on the service often contain far-right content, antisemitism, and conspiracy theories such as QAnon. It claimed that it has over 12 million users, has styled itself as a “free speech-driven” space. The app has largely attracted US conservatives who disagree with rules around content on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.