Conservative social media shut down by new owners

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Parler, a conservative-leaning social media network popular among fans of former US President Donald Trump, was taken offline earlier this week after being acquired by Starboard, a digital media giant.

The platform’s new owner, formerly known as Olympic Media, announced the acquisition on Friday. Parler “as it is currently constituted” has been shut down “to undergo a strategic assessment,” according to a statement on the platform’s homepage published by Starboard.

It was unclear when Parler would return or what adjustments the new owners planned to implement. Starboard, on the other hand, sees “tremendous opportunities across multiple sectors to continue to serve marginalised or even outright censored communities.”

According to the new owners, “no reasonable person believes that a Twitter clone just for conservatives is a viable business any more.” Starboard CEO Ryan Coyne expressed excitement about integrating the social media platform’s audience “across all of our existing platforms.”

Starboard was founded in 2018 by Coyne and houses numerous other conservative-leaning platforms such as American Wire and BizPac Review. The acquisition of Parler is expected to be accretive by the end of the second quarter of 2023, according to the business.

The news comes months after the breakdown of another transaction in which American musician Kanye West, who has legally changed his name to Ye, would have owned Parler. He attempted to purchase the social media network after being suspended from Instagram and Twitter. Following statements on Jews, the two social media behemoths banned him.

Parler stated in December that the firm and West had not completed the transaction. “Parlement Technologies has confirmed that the company has mutually agreed with Ye to terminate the intent of sale of Parler,” the social media platform’s then-owner said, according to TechCrunch.

John Matze and Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of billionaire Robert Mercer, co-owner of conservative news website Breitbart, created Parler in 2018. The social network was deleted from Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store for allowing “violent content” following Trump supporters’ storming of the US Capitol building. At the same time, Amazon removed it from its web hosting service.

It returned to the App Store in May 2021 after stricter content regulation. Google Store reintroduced it in September 2022.