Parler, which bills itself as an "unbiased social media" platform that has become the destination of choice for alt-right extremists and conspiracy theorists, has ousted its CEO John Matze in a decision that he says he was not a part of.
"On January 29, 2021, the Parler board controlled by [co-founder] Rebekah Mercer decided to immediately terminate my position as CEO of Parler. I did not participate in this decision," Matze wrote in a memo to employees that was obtained by Fox News. "I understand that those who now control the company have made some communications to employees and other third parties that have unfortunately created confusion and prompted me to make this public statement."
He added that his original vision for the platform, which has been cut off by Amazon Web Services, as well as the Google and Apple app stores, for failing to effectively monitor content in the wake of the January 6 Capitol riots, has been eroded. "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 explained.
"For example, I advocated for more product stability and what I believe is a more effective approach to content moderation," he wrote. "I have worked endless hours and fought constant battles to get the Parler site running but at this point, the future of Parler is no longer in my hands."
Matze noted that he will take a short period of time off, after which he plans to be "looking for new opportunities where my technical acumen, vision and the causes I am passionate about will be required and respected."
The riots last month that triggered the cutoff of the platform by various tech giants were directed at a congressional session held to certify the 2020 Electoral College vote, a largely ceremonial process that would officially name Joe Biden president. The vote was being contested by sitting President Donald Trump, who urged his followers in an earlier rally to protest and "stop the steal" of the presidency, which he alleges was won by fraudulent means. Trump was subsequently banned from Twitter and other social media.