Parler Says Social Network Will Relaunch 'Very Soon,' Deletes Posts by Ex-CEO John Matze

The chief policy officer of the social media platform Parler said on Thursday that the website will welcome back users "very soon" and is moving ahead with a "relaunch," despite ongoing restrictions by Google, Apple and Amazon.

Parler executive Amy Peikoff did not provide a timeline of when users should expect to regain access to the once-thriving network, which was a moderation-light alternative to Twitter and popular with conservatives and supporters of Donald Trump.

Peikoff pushed back against statements made by former CEO John Matze, who said he had been ousted from his leadership role last Friday after proposing greater restrictions on extremists and users spreading the unfounded QAnon conspiracy.

Posts attributed to Matze that were previously visible on a temporary Parler webpage disappeared between Thursday and Friday, as executives and investors attempted to distance themselves from the former boss's claims about why he was fired.

Matze said that he pushed for greater "product stability," while The Wall Street Journal reported he was days away from restoring some access to users of the app by adjusting its moderation rules so they would be more acceptable to the mobile stores.

But Peikoff said in a statement shared with Newsweek that Matze's characterization of his termination was "inaccurate and misleading." Matze said he was let go after clashing with Parler's main funder, the Republican political donor Rebekah Mercer.

Peikoff wrote: "The owners and managers of the company worked tirelessly to build a resilient, non-partisan platform dedicated to freedom of expression, civil discourse, and user privacy. That has been and continues to be our vision, and any assertions to the contrary are false, as can be shown by the record and evidence."

She added: "Parler is more than a social media platform; it is a beacon in today's fight for free speech and open, productive dialogue. We are continuing to move forward with our relaunch and look forward to welcoming everyone back very soon."

Parler's social network has been offline since January 11 after its account with hosting provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) was suspended amid accusations that it failed to adequately moderate extreme user posts. Parler's mobile app was pulled by Google and Apple following the U.S. Capitol Building riot by Trump supporters on January 6.

Multiple attempts to partner with alternative website hosting providers failed, and legal action against AWS stalled after a judge declined to restore its account.

As of Friday morning, Parler's social network remained inaccessible. Earlier this week, a static page was showing multiple posts from Matze that have now vanished.

One now-deleted update read: "I believe everyone in the tech community, political, and others should put their differences aside to move forward together." Another post from the removed CEO had stated: "We are becoming closer and stronger as a team."

On Wednesday, the conservative talk show host Dan Bongino, who is a Parler investor, criticized Matze in a video posted to Facebook, accusing him of making "some terrible decisions" and referencing an internal clash of vision over user moderation.

He said: "It was us, me and the two other owners, that were constantly on the side of this site was going to be a free speech platform or it was going to be nothing.

"After Apple, Amazon and Google wiped us out we could have been up in a week if we just would have bent the knee, and followed all the ridiculous Apple edicts to become a heavy moderation site to the left of Twitter. That's not what we are going to do."

Matze said in a LinkedIn post published Thursday: "I want to thank everyone on Parler, Parler supporters and most of all the amazing Parler employees who worked tirelessly in support of our shared vision. This is not a goodbye. Just a so long for now."

Mobile device showing Parler website
Mobile device showing Parler website with statement regarding "Technical Difficulties", following the app's removal from its former Amazon hosting platform, Lafayette, California, January 21, 2021. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty