Feb 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Parler CEO John Matze says company's board fired him

Photo of a phone with the Parler logo on the screen on the left and John Matze's portrait on the right

Photos: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images (left) and John Matze's LinkedIn (right)

John Matze, CEO and co-founder of far-right friendly social media platform Parler, said on LinkedIn Wednesday that he has been terminated.

Why it matters: Parler has been at the center of controversy since Amazon Web Services, Apple and Google unplugged the network last month for its lack of content moderation related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

  • In a memo obtained by Fox News, Matze said that the company's board of directors, controlled by Republican political donor Rebekah Mercer, terminated him last Friday.
  • He did not participate in the decision, and the reason for the firing remains unknown.

What he's saying: "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," Matze wrote. "For example, I advocated for more product stability and what I believe is a more effective approach to content moderation."

  • "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."

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva: It will be interesting to see who replaces Matze, and whether this person can achieve whatever the board thinks he failed at — which is no small task, assuming Parler wants to keep its extreme free speech policies.

The big picture: Matze emerged from the Capitol riots as a defender of the institution of free speech. He refused to give in to companies he called "anti-competitive actors."

  • Matze will take a few weeks off before looking for new opportunities, he told Parler colleagues.

Go deeper: Podcast: The fall of Parler

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