Twitter Competitor Parler in Limbo After Massive Layoffs at Parent Firm

Twitter Competitor Parler in Limbo After Massive Layoffs at Parent Firm

Parlement Technologies reportedly cut dozens of jobs across the company in December, a move that has cast doubt on the future of its free speech social media network Parler.

Around 75% of the employees were sacked between November and December last year, The Verge reported, quoting sources familiar with the matter. Only a total of about 20 employees remained working at both Parler and Parlement Technologies’ cloud services unit, it said.

The massive layoffs involved most of the company’s top management including its chief technology, operations, and marketing officers, according to the report. It is not clear how many people have continued to work directly on the Parler social media network.

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Parler: Censorship is enemy of free speech

Founded by John Matze and Jared Thomson in 2018, Parler has positioned itself as a non-partisan, free speech alternative to Facebook and Twitter with fewer restrictions on what people can say.

It says that its “goal [is] to provide an unbiased platform where users can engage in civil discourse without fear of ideological censorship.”

Conservative political donor and Parler investor Rebekah Mercer previously said she started the network in response to the “ever increasing tyranny and hubris of our tech overlords.”

As MetaNews reported recently, Parler has seen the total number of people visiting its platform swelling to 1.7 million in November from 1.3 million three months earlier. The growth has continued since the platform’s early days, when it registered 7,000 new users per minute in November 2020.

The app works just like Twitter, allowing users to share short messages, links, and photos with their followers. Users can comment on and upvote posts, known as “parleys.” They also have access to a range of topics including entertainment, politics and sport.

Tool for chaos

Supporters of former U.S. president Donald Trump used Parler to plan and chronicle the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the seat of the American government. After the violent conversations, Apple and Google banned Parler from their app stores.

Amazon, which hosted the Parler site, discontinued the service. The social network has now been reinstated by both Apple and Google but runs on its own cloud servers.

“This week marks two years since Amazon Web Services, following closely behind Google and Apple, took burgeoning Twitter competitor Parler, which had been number one in Apple’s App Store, offline,” Amy Peikoff, Parler head of legal policy, wrote in a Jan. 11 blog post.

“What has become incontrovertible only recently, thanks to Elon Musk’s release of the ‘Twitter Files,’ is evidence pointing to the actual motivation behind Parler’s deplatforming: the desire to bury all the uncensored content that Parler allowed to be shared on the web. Remember Hunter Biden’s laptop? The Wuhan lab-leak?…” she averred.

Parler accused of stifling free speech

In a cruel twist of fate, John Matze was fired as CEO of Parler in Jan. 2021. After that, Matze accused the company he helped found on the promise of free speech of trying to muzzle him.

He was fired allegedly for violating the terms of his agreement by divulging inside company information to the media as well as attacking Parler publicly.

“That’s not the vision I had for the company,” Matze told USA Today then. “These people just want to censor me. Obviously, my statement about their vision not aligning with mine must be true considering they are trying to stop me from speaking my mind.”

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.