Parler CEO John Matze says he was fired by board

Parler CEO John Matze says he was fired by board

Social media startup Parler, which touts itself as free from fact-checking and censorship, has
File photo of the Parler logo on a smartphone. (File photo: AFP/Olivier Douliery)

NEW YORK: The board of Parler, a social media platform backed by Republican Party donor Rebekah Mercer and favored by US conservatives, has fired its CEO John Matze, he said on Wednesday (Feb 3).

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

"On Jan 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," Matze said in a memo sent to Parler staff.

"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 Reuters that Parler now has an "executive committee" consisting of Matthew Richardson and Mark Meckler.

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

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A screengrab of Parler.com website and Parler CEO John Matze's message
A screengrab of the Parler website and Parler CEO John Matze's message on Jan 16, 2021, reading "Hello world, is this thing on?". (Image: Reuters)

Parler remains largely offline after being dropped by Seattle-based Amazon's cloud-hosting division and the app stores of Apple and Alphabet's Google following the Jan 6 siege of the US Capitol.

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 and has claimed it has more than 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.

Matze told Reuters on Jan 13 that Parler may be offline for good, but later pledged it would return stronger.

Source: Reuters/zl

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