Parler CEO John Matze revealed in an exclusive interview with Reuters on Wednesday that his 2-year-old platform may not ever return after several vendors and service providers ditched the company for failing to moderate violent content.
While Matze indicated he was in talks with more than one computing service, he stated he was unsure whether Parler would see the light of day ever again. “It could be never,” Matze said, before declaring, “We don’t know yet.”
Parler’s troubles first began last Friday after US President Donald Trump was booted from Twitter and a slew of his supporters began trickling over to the app that claims that it is more supportive of free speech than other platforms. However, as the app gained popularity, Apple caught wind and issued a letter to the company that stated Parler had 24 hours to implement moderation measures to combat posts that were promoting illegal activity, such as by inciting violence.
By the end of the weekend, Parler was eventually removed from Apple and Google’s online application stores. Amazon effectively placed the final nail in Parler’s coffin after it announced on Sunday that it had cut the company from its web-hosting service over its poor moderation efforts.
Following the initial setbacks, Matze indicated a bevy of vendors have ditched the company. “It’s hard to keep track of how many people are telling us that we can no longer do business with them,” he said.
Some of the companies included American Express, online payment provider Stripe, cloud communication platform Twilio and communication software platform Slack, among others. Despite the massive departure from vendors, Matze did note that there had been no changes to Parler’s funds, which largely come from hedge fund manager Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer.
At present, Matze is still hoping to regain access to Amazon’s web-hosting services. In fact, Parler on Monday filed a lawsuit against Amazon, claiming the tech giant had breached its contract by kicking Parler off Amazon cloud servers for political and anticompetitive reasons.
Amazon, however, has not taken the assertions well and shot back that Parler’s removal was warranted after the network violated its contract by failing to remove dozens of posts that included death threats against prominent Democrats, Republicans and tech executives.
“This case is not about suppressing speech or stifling viewpoints. It is not about a conspiracy to restrain trade,” reads the company's response. “Instead, this case is about Parler’s demonstrated unwillingness and inability to remove from the servers of Amazon Web Services content that threatens the public safety, such as by inciting and planning the rape, torture and assassination of named public officials and private citizens.”
The response added that there is “no legal basis” that would compel Amazon to “host content of this nature.”
Matze informed Reuters that Parler officials were considering filing additional lawsuits against vendors that split from the company. He did not offer any specifics on which companies might be sued or on what legal grounds.