Parler, the social media platform that once courted Kanye West as a buyer and was popular with the Jan. 6 insurrectionists, has been shut down by new ownership, according to an announcement on the company’s website. The Parler app is still expected to be available in the future. It was bought by Arlington-based Starboard media, and it will return at some point.
“No reasonable person believes that a Twitter clone just for conservatives is a viable business any more,” Ryan Coyne, CEO of Starboard, said in a statement published to Parler.
“While the Parler app as it is currently constituted will be pulled down from operation to undergo a strategic assessment, we at Starboard see tremendous opportunities across multiple sectors to continue to serve marginalized or even outright censored communities—even extending beyond domestic politics,” Coyne continued.
Parler was launched as a platform for social media in late 2018, appealing to conservatives that felt they were censored by mainstream sites such as Twitter and Facebook. But the site didn’t attract substantial headlines until former President Donald Trump’s efforts on January 6, 2021 to stop the tallying of votes to declare the winner of the 2020 presidential election at the U.S. Capitol.
Parler allowed many of the rioters of that day to share images, text and videos of the rebellion. These would then be used later in court for prosecution of insurrectionists. Trump is not being charged with any crimes for his involvement in the uprising. It’s not happened yet.
Parler became the number one app on Apple’s App Store in the days following the insurrection but was removed due to its popularity with people trying to overthrow the U.S. government.
Parler tried last year to lure Ye, the former Kanye-West artist, but this deal fell through. West was barred from Twitter in October of 2022, before Elon Musk acquired the platform. Musk allowed West to return on Twitter, but then banned him for posting an image that was antisemitic.
Techcrunch reports that Starboard, formerly Olympic Media, owns conservative websites like American Wire or BizPac Reviews.
“Advancements in AI technology, along with the existing code base and other new features, provide an opportunity for Starboard to begin servicing unsupported online communities —building a home for them away from the ad-hoc regulatory hand of platforms that hate them,” Coyne said in a statement.
“The terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed although Starboard expects the deal to be accretive by the end of Q2 2023,” the statement continued.