The conservative social media network Parler has fired CEO John Matze, according to a memo by Matze to the company's staff.
Following the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, Parler faced calls to moderate its users and the content they posted, some of which included videos and photographs of individuals who had participated in the violence. The app was subsequently banned from the app stores of both Google and Apple, and had its hosting terminated by Amazon Web Services.
Fox News, which obtained the memo, reports that the company terminated Matze’s employment following a decision by the company’s board of directors.
"On January 29, 2021, the Parler board controlled by Rebekah Mercer decided to immediately terminate my position as CEO of Parler. I did not participate in this decision," Matze wrote in the memo. "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."
Matze claimed that he faced resistance to his vision of the “free speech” platform after Amazon Web Services terminated the website’s hosting for its failure to moderate “egregious content” following the Capitol riot.
“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 stated. “For example, I advocated for more product stability and what I believe is a more effective approach to content moderation.”
Parler enjoyed a brief surge in popularity as Twitter suspended former President Donald Trump and banned thousands of supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
However, it has remained offline since it was banned from Amazon Web Services, and its expected relaunch in February has been delayed. Following its suspension, Parler filed a lawsuit against Amazon claiming that its suspension of Parler violated antitrust laws and breached the contract between the two companies, Rebel News reported.
Fox News reports that a “Parler insider” said that the relaunch delays have been caused by “new branding and changes occurring within the company for the sake of stability.”
“I’ll be looking for new opportunities where my technical acumen, vision and the causes I am passionate about will be required and respected,” Matze wrote. “I want to thank all the people of Parler that supported me and the platform. This has been the true American Dream: an idea from a living room to a company of considerable value. I’m not saying goodbye, just so long for now.”