Parler CEO John Matze: Iran's Supreme Leader Having Twitter a 'Double Standard'

Parler CEO John Matze has said the removal of his platform from app stores this week shows the "double standards" of the tech industry, claiming is just as much "nasty and threatening" content to be found on Twitter.

In an interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo on Monday, the man behind the self-styled "free speech" social network claimed there was no credible evidence that user content uploaded to Parler was significantly different to posts on his rivals' platforms.

And he agreed with Bartiromo who said that Twitter does not appear to police Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, to the same standards as other users.

Matze said: "As far as we can tell there's no accounts that have tremendous followings, that are getting a lot of people looking at [them], talking tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands like you do on Twitter, making these kinds of threats, especially ones like Ayatollah [Ali Khamenei] do regularly, so it is a complete double standard.

"I think people are waking up to it, and I think people see how big this is, but really what we can do to help curb this is point out the double standard as much as possible."

Twitter's policies typically give world leaders more room to operate as their posts are in the public interest, although "direct threats of violence" are one exception.

Khamenei's Twitter account, which is not verified but carries official statements, has for years been criticized for posts containing threatening language.

In a post from 2018 that remains online, he said that Israel was "a malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated." Under the post, a wave of new comments can be seen questioning why it remains online.

Last week, Twitter removed a tweet from Khamenei for spreading misinformation about COVID, after he said U.S. and British vaccines were "completely untrustworthy." While the tweet was removed, Khamenei's profile still remains active on the platform.

That is unlike the account of President Donald Trump, which was blocked by Twitter on January 8 as social networks and technology platforms scrambled to limit the spread of his posts that were deemed to have the ability to incite civil unrest.

The Parler app was removed from the Google Play Store and App Store last weekend for hosting content with the potential to cause harm or spark violence.

That decision came after a mob of Trump supporters, some of who were seemingly active on the Parler social network, stormed the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.—a violent siege that resulted in five deaths, including that of a police officer.

The Parler website disappeared from the internet on Monday after it was suspended by hosting provider Amazon Web Services (AWS). Legal action is now ongoing, and AWS has argued it was justified in its actions due to the extreme content on Parler.

Matze said in the Fox Business interview that Parler went from being a possible "billion-dollar" company to shut off from the wider internet almost overnight.

He stated: "We have called all of the big tech players, all have said no and it's really a challenge, all of the backup vendors we already had deals with for hosting, even ones that after the fact said they would host us, ended up dropping us at the last second."

Parler
This illustration picture shows social media application logo from Parler displayed on a smartphone with its website in the background in Arlington, Virginia on July 2, 2020. OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty