Why was Parler CEO John Matze fired? Here's how Amazon, Apple and Google could host app again
The app was banned from Google, Apple and AWS a few weeks ago for allegedly allowing the spread of political violence through unfiltered content
Recently fired Parler CEO John Matze blamed the board controlled by co-founder and Republican donor Rebekah Mercer for his ouster. Matze launched the controversial social media app Parler in 2018 along with Mercer and Jared Thomson. The app was banned from Google, Apple and AWS a few weeks ago for allegedly allowing the spread of violence through unfiltered content, which led to the horrific US Capitol attack on January 6, 2021.
In the memo, which was obtained by Fox News, Matze stated that the future of Parler is no longer in his hands. He was reportedly fired by Mercer on January 29.
What did Matze say in the memo?
After the termination was finalized, Matze sent out a memo to the Parler staff, openly stating his feelings about the decision. He added that in the past few months, he had advocated for a "more effective approach to content moderation", but that his vision and objectives were always met with "constant resistance".
"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. For example, I advocated for more product stability and what I believe is a more effective approach to content moderation," his statement mentioned. He remarked in an acerbic tone that the present controllers of the company have made certain confusing communication to employees and third parties regarding his termination, which prompted him to make a "public statement".
Matze also added that he had worked relentlessly to reinstate Parler, which was gearing up for launching again in early February. However, the relaunch with updated content policies was apparently delayed due to new branding and major changes within the company to retain stability.
Why was Matze fired?
After Amazon Web Services (AWS) head and new Amazon CEO Andy Jassy decided to pull the plug on Parler, Matze emerged as a highly vocal representative against the decision. He appeared regularly on the news, trying to defend ‘free speech’ and condemning the decision by Amazon.
Speculations are rife about the reason behind the Parler CEO’s termination. While the real reason behind his termination is yet to be unveiled, Matze’s memo has sparked the belief that there was considerable conflict among the board members and Matze regarding the future of the company. Matze confirmed that he would start seeking new opportunities soon where his ‘technical acumen, vision’ and the causes he is passionate about, will be ‘required and respected’.
Will Parler be back?
Ever since its launch, Parler has always been unofficially dubbed as the social media portal exclusively used by staunch Trump supporters and right-wing extremists to promote fake news and political violence. Especially after Trump’s permanent suspension from Twitter, Parler saw a huge increase in users as Trump supporters boycotted Twitter and made Parler their sole social media portal. In fact, their number of users spiked from 2.3M in December 2020 to 15M in January 2021.
However, following the violent Capitol riots, it emerged in the news how Parler’s leniency towards egregious content helped incite the attack. Thereafter, the app was quickly removed by Google and Apple from their respective app stores, followed by Amazon.
The Parler website was reinstated soon with the promise to ‘resolve any challenge’ before them. However, the date for the relaunch of the app still remains uncertain. Apple CEO Tim Cook stated in an interview that Parler can be back in the Apple store if they improve their content moderation policies. It is believed by many that formulation and adherence to a strict content moderation policy can help Parler get back on the Google store as well. However, its future with Amazon is unpredictable, since AWS did not simply suspend the app, but instead terminated their contract immediately.