Parler CEO Is Fired After 'Constant Resistance' Inside The Conservative-Friendly Site John Matze was ousted as the social media company struggles to find a way back online, with Big Tech companies cracking down on the site after the riot at the Capitol.
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Parler CEO Is Fired After 'Constant Resistance' Inside The Conservative-Friendly Site

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Parler CEO Is Fired After 'Constant Resistance' Inside The Conservative-Friendly Site

Parler CEO Is Fired After 'Constant Resistance' Inside The Conservative-Friendly Site

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The former CEO of Parler is discussing how he was fired. The social media site promoted itself as a forum for free speech. It quickly became a go-to site for conspiracy theorists, white supremacists and some of the people who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Parler is now offline, and its former chief executive told NPR's Bobby Allyn he's out of work.

BOBBY ALLYN, BYLINE: Since 2018, 27-year-old Nevada engineer John Matze ran the social media site Parler. But here's how he now introduces himself.

JOHN MATZE: John Matze, unemployed.

ALLYN: Unemployed, he says, because of a disagreement over free speech. Many of the Capitol rioters turned to Parler to document property damage, vandalism and other violence. To Matze, that was a wake-up call.

MATZE: To me, it was a clear indication of what could happen if we didn't change the way things were being done.

ALLYN: The realization came too late for Parler since Amazon had already terminated its Web hosting contract with the company after saying it, quote, "systemically failed to police violence." Matze, though, had a plan. Parler would relaunch by banning domestic terrorists and incitements of violence, including from the conspiracy theory QAnon. He took his proposal to Parler's co-founder, conservative donor Rebekah Mercer.

MATZE: You know, when I presented my plan to Rebekah Mercer and one of the other reps, they were silent. So I took that as disagreement.

ALLYN: We reached out to Mercer, but she did not immediately respond.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

DAN BONGINO: There were two separate visions for the company.

ALLYN: That's conservative talk show host Dan Bongino. He's a Parler investor. He posted a video to Facebook defending Parler's decision to fire Matze.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

BONGINO: We were the ones, in fact, fighting to get Parler back up. It was some really bad decisions made by people on the inside.

ALLYN: Bongino says Matze, despite being CEO, did not own Parler's mission.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

BONGINO: And I don't know what John's saying in his reports out there, but this free speech vision, that was ours.

ALLYN: For now, until the site is back up and running, people who share that vision will have to go somewhere other than Parler. Bobby Allyn, NPR News, San Francisco.

(SOUNDBITE OF AMBINATE'S "REMNANT")

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