Parler board fires CEO John Matze

Don Simkovich

Parler CEO John Matze was fired on January 29 as CEO of the start-up social media platform. Matze sent a memo to Parler employees that was picked up by Fox News. The now-former CEO says he didn’t participate in the decision. Matze says he made the statement due to confusion during communication to employees and third parties.

After the January 6 riots on Capitol Hill, Parler got de-platformed. Apple and Google removed the Parler app from their stores and then Amazon took them off their servers.

In mid-January, Matze vowed that, "We want to come back and not only come back strong, but we want to do it and show that we have a better system for handling our own terms-of-service violations than our competitors.”

He expressed determination that his now-banned social media platform will be back in the near future with an upper hand on competitors and slammed the "crazy" double standard between treatment of his company and Twitter.

He says Parler wanted to “make a bold statement when we come back and we want to do it strong.”

A columnist for National Review Online, Andy McCarthy, said Big Tech was targeting Parler in what he called “collusive activity.”

Matze had said that critics of Parler who assume the platform is "essentially the Wild West of social media platforms have no idea that the company previously had a points-based system to weed out bad actors. The system penalized things such as calls for violence with 'points' and accounts were automatically deleted once they accumulated a certain number."

A former Clinton adviser and president of Stagwell Group, Mark Penn, told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on January 15 that TV and newspapers were divided by ideology, but social media platforms had become a place for everyone.

After Twitter banned President Trump, Penn said Twitter was making a fundamental choice as to the type of business strategy by taking certain types of users. He was unsure if Parler could compete.

Parler’s board is controlled by Rebekah Mercer, a Republican donor who funded and helped launch Parler in 2018. Her father Robert Mercer had owned a stake in the news site Breitbart but had sold his interest to his daughters.

Matze says he didn’t participate in the decision that he leave the company. On his LinkedIn page he left a personal note: “I want to thank everyone on Parler, Parler supporters and most of all the amazing Parler employees who worked tirelessly in support of our shared vision. This is not a goodbye. Just a so long for now.”

After its launch in 2018, the platform grew to 100,000 users by May 2019. In December 2020, there were about two million regular users and the numbers rocketed to 15 million users before it was removed from Amazon’s servers.

Parler has headquarters in Henderson, Nevada and the name comes from the French term, parler, meaning “to speak.”

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I interview entrepreneurs, and dig into the news around Southern California, giving a voice to business owners, artists and more. I also co-write the thriller novel series Tom Stone Detective Stories.

Pasadena, CA

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