New Parler CEO Mark Meckler said that the allegations that his social media platform was used to coordinate riots during the Jan. 6 Capitol breach are primarily a “political hit” job, explaining that Big Tech firms view Parler as a “business threat.”
Meckler cited a Forbes report that pushed back against claims from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg others saying that Parler was used heavily during the Capitol breach. The Forbes article cited data from the Program on Extremism at the George Washington University, finding that charging documents related to the Capitol breach mention Facebook 73 times, YouTube is mentioned 24 times, Facebook-owned Instagram is mentioned 20 times, and Parler is mentioned eight times.
“If you look at the actual numbers,” there was “barely a blip on Parler,” Meckler said, adding: “It was Facebook. It was YouTube, it was Twitter. That’s where the bad activity was taking place, for the most part.”
“I think this was a political hit. And I actually think it was a business hit. I think there are two things,” Meckler remarked. “They were trying to stifle free speech, I think they don’t like the idea that people can go online and say whatever they want to say, as long as it’s legal. They just they’re opposed to that philosophy. The second is, I think, a business threat, our model is entirely different than the other social media platforms.”
Parler, in comparison to Facebook and Google, he said, is “not monetizing the data of our users,” and “we don’t use algorithms … where they’re forcing content into your feed.”
On Parler, which was taken down by Amazon Web Services last month, the “content you’re going to get is the content you want, you’re only going to get content from the people that you sign up to follow,” Meckler said. “And so I think this allows users to curate their own content. And I think that’s a real threat to people like Facebook and Twitter and Google.”
Amazon’s rationale for taking down Parler from his hosting service was that the firm failed to moderate content that it described as harmful. Parler later filed a lawsuit against the Seattle-based tech giant, arguing that it breached its contract, violated antitrust laws, and said Amazon took action against it in favor of Twitter—which also uses Amazon Web Services.
Parler also faces an investigation from the House Oversight Committee, which in late January sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray to look into allegations of social media platform Parler’s involvement “related to the violence” on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol. Former Parler CEO John Matze, when he was still CEO, asserted that Oversight Committee’s move was politically motivated.
Earlier this week, the company announced that its website is back online. While a number of people wrote on Twitter and elsewhere that they couldn’t access the site or that it was slow, Meckler said it’s coming back despite “glitches” and “hiccups.”
“There’s about 21 million users out there, they can all log on, they can see their accounts exactly as they were before. They’re going to be following all the same people they were following. We wanted to make sure that that worked and was stable. Before we open it up sometime next week, we’ll open it up for folks who want to add accounts to Parler. So be ready for that I think we should expect another graphic,” he added.
Meckler was named as the Henderson, Nevada-based firm’s CEO after John Matze was let go. Matze said earlier this month that there were disagreements within the firm about how to handle former President Donald Trump.