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Parler CEO Fired Over Content Moderation Push

(Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Parler, the Trump-friendly social media app, has reportedly fired its CEO, John Matze.

Fox News obtained a memo Matze wrote to Parler employees, which said the company’s board of directors terminated him on Jan. 29. “I did not participate in this decision,” he said.  

In the memo, Matze signals his firing had to do with his support for stronger content moderation. Last month, Apple and Google removed the social network from their app stores while Amazon stopped supplying Parler with cloud services, citing the rampant calls for violence on the platform.

“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,” he wrote. 

However, the lack of content moderation on Parler has been the key selling point to the app, which marketed itself as a free speech space. The social network saw a surge of new users after Facebook and Twitter decided to effectively ban former President Trump following the mob violence on the US Capitol on Jan. 6.  

According to The Wall Street Journal, Matze was actually days away from restoring Parler, which had 15 million users, before his firing. “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 added in his memo. 

In the meantime, Parler remains down. The social network’s website continues to say it’s working to resolve the technical difficulties. 

Parler did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But an investor in the app, conservative commentator Dan Bongino, claims Matze is distorting the facts over his firing. In a video, Bongino signals Matze’s push for content moderation alienated Parler’s owners, which include Republican political donor Rebekah Mercer, a Trump supporter. 

“Some terrible decisions were made in the past that led to this, that led us to getting pulled down by Amazon and others,” Bongino added.

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