Parler CEO John Matze Says Site May 'Never' Get Back Online but He's an 'Optimist'

Parler CEO John Matze has said this week that his social network may "never" be able to get back online after having its app deleted from the iOS and Android stores and its website hosting pulled by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Matze, who co-founded the site in 2018, told Reuters on Wednesday that the loss of business partners could be fatal, keeping the site's infrastructure offline.

"If everything is perfect and we don't lose any more vendors, which won't happen, you're talking half a week. [We] start losing more, it could be never. We don't know yet," Matze said, as Parler remained inaccessible to its 12 million-strong userbase.

He later walked back the comment, saying: "I am an optimist. It may take days, it may take weeks but Parler will return and when we do we will be stronger."

Parler was pitched as an alternative to Twitter and surged in popularity among Trump supporters in recent months after being endorsed by GOP politicians and conservative personalities, many who accused the mainstream social networks of censorship.

But its owner found themselves on the end of moderation last weekend after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

The siege sparked a wave of social media bans as tech companies sought to limit the potential of their services being used to incite further violence, and Parler was accused of failing to adequately moderate extremist posts uploaded by users.

Matze told Reuters the extent of the damage was worse than just losing AWS. Hosting became a major issue as additional services also chose to distance themselves.

The CEO said Parler lost Scylla Enterprise, a database that was the "backbone" of the social network's feed system. It lost access to payment services Stripe and American Express, alongside communications services including Slack and Twilio.

The loss of the Slack app meant his team could no longer talk to its network of volunteer moderators, while the loss of Stripe impacted ad revenue, Matze told Reuters.

After its account was suspended by AWS, Parler filed a lawsuit which accused AWS of breaching contract and urged a federal judge to make Amazon reinstate the site.

Parler said a period of downtime would result in users leaving, possibly forever, and said it was the "equivalent of pulling the plug on a hospital patient on life support."

Amazon countered that the removal was a "last resort" and alleged that Parler was both "unwilling and unable" to address extremist speech uploaded by its users.

Matze told Reuters that the website would explore the use of algorithms to flag content in advance of its publishing, bringing it more in line with Facebook and Twitter. He said that Parler would retain the idea users are "innocent before proven guilty."

For now, the platform remains offline. Its CEO has pledged to fix the issue, saying: "We are going to fight and do everything possible to come back as soon as possible."

Parler app on mobile phone
A general view of the the Parler app icon displayed on an iPhone on January 9, 2021 in London, England. The Parler App popular with right-wing supporters was suspended from Google and Apple's app stores over continued postings by users that incite violence. Hollie Adams/Getty