By Jason Cohen
Starboard, the digital-media conglomerate that acquired Parler, a free speech social media platform, temporarily took it offline on Friday, according to a company statement by Founder and CEO Ryan Coyne.
Starboard (formerly Olympic Media) is temporarily shutting down Parler while the company works on a strategy to launch a new and improved version, according to the statement. “No reasonable person believes that a Twitter clone just for conservatives is a viable business any more,” he wrote.
Regarding the target demographic for Parler, “It doesn’t have to be conservatives, it can be across finance, health care … think about the people that were getting banned during COVID,” Coyne told the Daily Caller News Foundation, citing people who got removed from social media after saying the virus originated in a lab or that they did not want to take the vaccine or questioned its efficacy.
Parler’s parent company, Parlement Technologies Inc., revealed that it sold the platform to Starboard following a deal with Kanye “Ye” West that fell through, according to the WSJ.
“In response to numerous media inquiries, Parlement Technologies would like to confirm that the company has mutually agreed with Ye to terminate the intent of sale of Parler,” Parler tweeted on Dec. 1, 2022, the same day Ye went on Alex Jones’ InfoWars and defended Nazis. Parlement previously announced Ye was going to acquire Parler in October.
Parler was founded in 2018 and marketed as a less-censored alternative to Twitter, according to the WSJ. Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores and Amazon ceased providing Parler with web hosting after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021 due to people using the platform to organize it.
In February, a Forbes analysis revealed people used Facebook much more than Parler in the organization of the riots.
Parler was reinstated in the major app stores after updating its moderation method and has around 250,000 monthly users, according to the WSJ. Twitter could rival Parler as people perceive it as warmer toward conservatives since Elon Musk took over.
However, when asked if Twitter becoming freer was a problem for Parler, Coyne told the DCNF, “Absolutely not. More free speech in more places lifts up more people.”
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