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Parler CEO John Matze says he was fired by board

Elizabeth Culliford and Katie Paul
·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A screengrab of Parler.com website and Parler CEO John Matze's message on January 16, 2021, reading "Hello world, is this thing on?", seen in this picture obtained on January 17, 2021 from social media

By Elizabeth Culliford and Katie Paul

(Reuters) - The board of Parler, a social media platform backed by Republican Party donor Rebekah Mercer and favored by U.S conservatives, has fired its CEO John Matze, he said on Wednesday.

Matze confirmed the move to Reuters, after it was originally reported by Fox News, and said that he had not been given a settlement.

"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 said in a memo sent to Parler staff.

"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 told Reuters that Parler now has an "executive committee" consisting of Matthew Richardson and Mark Meckler.

Mercer, Richardson, Meckler and Parler did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Parler remains largely offline after being dropped by Seattle-based Amazon's cloud-hosting division and the app stores of Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google following the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol.

The companies cited Parler's record of policing violent content, after far-right groups spread violent rhetoric on the platform ahead of the unrest in Washington.

Parler, which was founded in 2018 and has claimed it has over 12 million users, has styled itself as a "free speech-driven" space.

The app has largely attracted U.S. conservatives who disagree with rules around content on social media sites like Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc.

Matze told Reuters on Jan. 13 that Parler may be offline for good, but later pledged it would return stronger.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru, Elizabeth Culliford in New York and Katie Paul in Palo Alto; Editing by Chris Reese, Cynthia Osterman and Sam Holmes)