Parler CEO Mark Matze decried Big Tech’s efforts to shut down the far-right app as an ‘assault on everybody’ after Amazon joined Google and Apple in suspending the platform from their servers.
‘It’s devastating is what it is,’ Matze told Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures. ‘They all work together to make sure at the same time we would lose access to not only our apps, but they’re actually shutting all of our servers off tonight, off the internet.’
Matze said the suspensions were aimed at decimating the company he founded for refusing to monitor its content for incitement of violence.
‘They made an attempt to not only kill the app, but to actually destroy the entire company. And it’s not just these three companies. Every vendor from text message services to email providers to our lawyers all ditched us too on the same day.’
Rep Devin Nunes (R – California) also appeared on Sunday Morning Futures and said that the tech giants’ suspension of Parler is ‘clearly a violation’ of antitrust, civil rights and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Nunes called for a federal investigation as he compared Amazon, Apple and Google to ‘the Mafia’ and lamented that ‘Republicans have no way to communicate’ without Parler.
Parler CEO Mark Matze (pictured) decried Big Tech’s efforts to shut down the far-right app as an ‘assault on everybody’ after Amazon joined Google and Apple in suspending the platform
‘It’s devastating is what it is,’ Matze said of the bans in an interview with Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures. ‘They all work together to make sure at the same time we would lose access to not only our apps, but they’re actually shutting all of our servers off tonight, off the internet’
Parler had been flooded by conservatives and right wingers fleeing Facebook and Twitter in recent days in the wake of suspension of prominent conservative figures, including Donald Trump.
Facebook and Twitter banned Trump after accusing him of fueling violence at the Capitol on Wednesday, when dozens of his supporters stormed the building in a bid to block the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.
Parler saw more than 1.5 million downloads this weekend alone – before Google led Apple and Amazon with shutoffs and suspensions Matze branded ‘a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place’.
On Sunday Matze argued the Silicon Valley leaders are ‘trying to falsely claim that we’re somehow responsible for the events that occurred on the 6th’.
‘We’ve never allowed [violence] on our platform. And we don’t even have a way to coordinate an event on our platform,’ he said.
‘They somehow want to make us responsible. This seems to me like an excuse to just basically eliminate free speech at a convenient time for them.’
Parler saw more than 1.5 million downloads this weekend alone – before Google led Apple and Amazon with shutoffs and suspensions Matze branded ‘a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place’ (file photo)
‘It would put anybody out of business,’ Matze said of the bans. ‘This thing could destroy anybody.’
He said the future of Parler is unclear as it works to restructure in a way that will appease platform hosts.
‘We’re going to try our best to get back online as quickly as possible but we’re having a lot of trouble because every vendor we talk to says they won’t work with us,’ Matze said.
‘Because if Apple doesn’t approve and Google doesn’t approve, they won’t. They’ve given us no legitimate remedy. They just don’t want us on the internet. They want to get rid of us.’
Rep Nunes likewise lambasted the actions of Big Tech, whining: ‘I have three million followers on Parler. Tonight, I will no longer be able to communicate with those people.’
‘The effect of this is that there is no longer a free and open social media company or site for any American to get on any longer,’ he said. ‘Because these big companies, Apple, Amazon, Google, they have just destroyed what was likely a billion dollar company. Poof, it’s gone.
‘It’s more than just the financial aspects of that. Republicans have no way to communicate. It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or conservative. If you don’t want to be regulated by left wingers that are at Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, where you get shadow banned, nobody gets to see you. They get to decide what’s violent or not violent.’
He continued: ‘I don’t know where the hell the Department of Justice is right now, or the FBI. This is clearly a violation of anti-trust, civil rights, the RICO statute.
‘There should be a racketeering investigation on all the people that coordinated this attack on not only a company, but on all of those like us, like me.’
Nunes insisted that ‘unlike the fake social media sites, Parler is actually a very, very safe platform’.
Rep Devin Nunes (R – California) also appeared on Sunday Morning Futures (pictured) and said that the tech giants’ suspension of Parler is ‘clearly a violation’ of antitrust, civil rights and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act
Matze revealed on Saturday night that Parler had removed a post from right-wing attorney Lin Wood, a staunch Trump supporter, that called for Vice President Mike Pence to be executed by ‘firing squads’.
‘Yes, some of his parleys that violated our rules were taken down,’ Matze told Mediaite, specifying that the post, or parley, about the ‘firing squads’ was among those removed.
The parley, uploaded Thursday, read: ‘They let them in. Get the firing squads ready. Pence goes FIRST.’
In a statement to CNN, Wood denied making any threats against Pence, claiming, ‘I don’t believe in violence, I do believe in the rule of law.’
‘I have reliable evidence that Pence has a engaged in acts of treason. My comments were rhetorical hyperbole. Any journalist should understand that concept. If my information is accurate, law enforcement will address what punishment, if any, should be administered to Pence as they do with all criminals,’ Wood said.
News of Wood’s controversial post came just hours after Apple announced it would be suspending Parler from its app store indefinitely, having earlier issued the company 24 hours to address the ‘threats to people’s safety’.
In a letter to the social media site explaining its suspension on Saturday, Apple said: ‘Parler has not upheld its commitment to moderate and remove harmful or dangerous content encouraging violence and illegal activity, and is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.’
Apple explained: ‘We have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity.
‘Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety,’ it added.
‘We have suspended Parler from the App Store until they resolve these issues’.
Matze, in a post on Parler responding to the Apple suspension, said: ‘They claim it is due to violence on the platform. The community disagrees as we hit number 1 on their store today’.
‘More details about our next plans coming soon as we have many options,’ Matze said.
He was forced to post again shortly afterward Amazon announced that it had suspended Parler from its Amazon Web Services (AWS) unit for violating its terms of services by failing to effectively deal with a steady increase in violent content on the social networking service.
‘Amazon will be shutting off all of out servers in an attempt to completely remove free speech off the internet,’ Matze wrote in response.
‘There is the possibility Parler will be unavailable on the Internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch. We prepared for events like this by never relying on Amazon’s proprietary infrastructure and building bare metal products.
‘We will try our best to move to a new provider right now as we have many competing for our business, however Amazon, Google and Apple purposefully did this as a coordinated effort knowing our options would be limited and knowing this would inflict the most damage right as President Trump was banned from the tech companies.
‘We were too successful too fast,’ he added.
‘You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue but don’t count us out.
Apple said in a letter to the social media site, which has been flooded by conservatives and right wingers fleeing Facebook and Twitter, that: ‘Parler has not upheld its commitment to moderate and remove harmful or dangerous content encouraging violence and illegal activity, and is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines
Parler is bankrolled by prominent conservative donor Rebekah Mercer
Parler, which styles itself as a ‘free speech-driven’ space, is bankrolled by hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer’s daughter Rebekah, the Wall Street Journal reported in November.
Rebekah has described her as a co-founder of the site with CEO John Matze.
‘John and I started Parler to provide a neutral platform for free speech, as our founders intended, and also to create a social media environment that would protect data privacy,’ she wrote in a post on the site this fall.
‘The ever increasing tyranny and hubris of our tech overlords demands that someone lead the fight against data mining, and for the protection of free speech online,’ she added.
Hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer is pictured with his daughter Rebekah in 2017
Matze replied to the post: ‘Bekah is a great friend, an American patriot, and most importantly committed to the Parler vision of neutrality and data privacy. We are grateful for her support since 2018, and her early faith in the founders has enabled us to reach these heights. #transparency.’
After WSJ reported Rebekah’s links to Parler she issued a statement saying that her multi-millionaire father Robert was not an investor in the site – while sources close to the clan claimed that the investment was a family affair.
Rebekah referred to herself as a co-founder of Parler in a post on the site in November
Parler, a two-year-old, more freewheeling alternative to Twitter that has become increasingly popular among the president’s most ardent supporters, would still be available in mobile browsers.
Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff claimed on Friday night it is being targeted as a conservative platform that refuses to fact check its users.
Right-leaning social media users in the United States have flocked to Parler, messaging app Telegram and hands-off social site Gab, citing the more aggressive policing of political comments on mainstream platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
In suspending the service, Google, whose software powers Android phones, cited its policy against apps that promote violence and gave recent examples from Parler, including a Friday post that began ‘How do we take back our country? About 20 or so coordinated hits’, and another promoting a ‘Million Militia March’ on Washington.
Yet Peikoff claimed on Tucker Carlson’s show on Friday night that the app should not have ‘responsibility for every piece of incitement that is posted there’.
She said that the app is ‘competing with other platforms who have decided that they want to surveil’ as she blasted the fact-checking policies taken by larger platforms since Russian interference was revealed in the 2016 election.
‘The nature of an open platform, a free and open town square, is that we do not take action on people until we are aware of a situation that’s particularly suspicious,’ she told the Fox News host.
Peikoff alleged that they were only being targeted by Google and Apple due to the politics of the majority of people on the site.
‘I think because we do have the reputation as being the conservative platform – although we are nonpartisan – that is what everybody sees us as,’ she said.
‘This has been a very unusual week. And to be singled out, we think, is quite unfair.
‘On the one hand, people don’t like to live in the world of Orwell’s ‘1984,’ and on the other hand, a lot of people seem to want to pressure social media to do more to moderate, as they call it, content on their platforms, but that would require 24-hour surveillance,’ Peikoff continued.
‘And we don’t think that that is consistent with the principles of America.’
She claimed that Parler wants to ‘provide a place where people can come and speak freely, that they are not going to be fact-checked, not going to be told what to think, what to read, et cetera’.
‘Also, we do not data pillage. We do not data mine them. We do not turn them into commodities and try to monetize them,’ Peikoff added.
‘We would just like to provide that service, and of course, like everyone else, we were horrified by a lot of the incitement that was going on this week, and we are doing everything that we can within our principles to deal appropriately with that content. We work with law enforcement, as well, but that content has been everywhere this week.’
Peikoff admitted that if the Google and Apple bans do take effect, it will have a very serious effect on the app’s growth.
She also revealed for the first time that Amazon had also made threats ahead of the announcement the servers were being shut off on Saturday.
‘Amazon is also raising some problems, and I’m not sure how serious that is, because I’ve yet to speak to them. I will later today. You know, they provide the server for us,’ she said.
‘And if they were to remove their services, then we would be down. As it is, we are having some difficulties now with the uptick in traffic, that if they took their service away, we’d be gone.’
Parler’s Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff, pictured, claimed on Tucker Carlson it is being targeted as a conservative platform that refuses to fact check its users
Matze also claimed in a post on Friday that Apple was applying standards to Parler that it did not apply to itself.
In a statement, Google said that ‘for us to distribute an app through Google Play, we do require that apps implement robust moderation for egregious content. In light of this ongoing and urgent public safety threat, we are suspending the app´s listings from the Play Store until it addresses these issues.’
In a letter from Apple’s App Store review team to Parler, Apple cited participants of the mob storming the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.
‘Content that threatens the well-being of others or is intended to incite violence or other lawless acts has never been acceptable on the App Store,’ Apple said in the letter.
Apple gave Parler 24 hours to ‘remove all objectionable content from your app … as well as any content referring to harm to people or attacks on government facilities now or at any future date.’
The company also demanded that Parler submit a written plan ‘to moderate and filter this content’ from the app.
It has since followed through with its threat and suspended Parler.
Matze, who describes himself as libertarian, founded Parler in 2018 as a ‘free-speech driven’ alternative to mainstream platforms but began courting right-leaning users as prominent supporters of Trump moved there.
Those who have joined include commentator Candace Owens, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and right-wing activist Laura Loomer, who handcuffed herself to the door of Twitter’s New York office in November 2018 to protest a ban on her by the site.
In November, conservative activist Rebekah Mercer confirmed that she and her family, which includes her father and hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer, have provided funding to Parler.
‘Apparently they believe Parler is responsible for ALL user generated content on Parler,’ Matze said.
‘Therefor (sic) by the same logic, Apple must be responsible for ALL actions taken by their phones. Every car bomb, every illegal cell phone conversation, every illegal crime committed on an iPhone, Apple must also be responsible for,’ he wrote.
‘Standards not applied to Twitter, Facebook or even Apple themselves, apply to Parler.’
Despite the suspensions, the platform would still be available on desktops
Now that Trump has been knocked off one of his favorite pulpits, he may resort to other online channels such as Parler. Many of Trump’s supporters have already used the forum to spread falsehoods and hateful comments.
While Trump could migrate to Parler, Gab or some other alternative site, doing so will greatly limit his influence, said Shannon McGregor, an assistant professor of journalism and media at the University of North Carolina.
Trump has always craved legitimacy and standing in the mainstream media despite his complaints about normal reporting he has long referred to as ‘fake news.’
He won’t get that on other platforms, she added.
Trump and his campaign received a permanent suspension from Twitter on Friday night just after loyalists, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and attorney Sidney Powell.
He briefly managed to tweet from the President of the United States official account before these tweets were also deleted.
In the tweets, which he later released in a statement to the White House press pool, he claimed that he was in talks to set up his own platform and promised his followers ‘We will not be SILENCED’.