Months after Ye dropped his bid, Parler has a new owner… and is out of commission for the time being. Starboard, the owner of pro-conservative news outlets like American Wire News, has shut down Parler on a temporary but indefinite basis after completing its acquisition of the social network from Parlement Technologies. The buyer says it will conduct a “strategic assessment” of the platform during the downtime, and hopes to integrate Parler’s audience into all its existing channels.
Starboard isn’t shy about its strategy. While it still sees a market for communities that believe they’ve been censored or marginalized, it considers a Parler revamp virtually necessary. “No reasonable person believes that a Twitter clone just for conservatives is a viable business any more,” the company says.
Parler launched in 2018 as a self-proclaimed free speech alternative to Twitter, which some conservatives claim is biased against right-wing views. It had few rules or moderation controls. Like Gab, though, it also became a haven for people with extreme views. Parler drew flak in January 2021 after word that people involved in the Capitol attack used the social platform to coordinate. Apple and Google kicked Parler off their respective app stores until it improved moderation and kept out users inciting violence.
Ye offered to buy Parler from Parlement in late 2022 after being banned from Twitter for antisemitic posts, but called off the deal in mid-November through a mutual agreement that cited the star’s “business difficulties” as a factor. Soon after, Parlement laid off most of its staff. The firm is pivoting to cloud services for businesses that believe they could be knocked offline for their content.
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In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Starboard chief Ryan Coyne says he expects to keep users on Parler despite rivalries with other sites, such as former President Trump’s Truth Social. However, the absence of a revival date doesn’t leave members many options. For now, they’ll have to use other platforms to express themselves.