Parler, a social network that was popularized by supporters of former President Donald Trump, has been sold to a buyer that has temporarily shut it down, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Parent company Parliament Technologies Inc. said it has sold Parler to digital-media company Starboard, months after an acquisition agreement with rapper Kanye West fall apart. The platform went offline on Friday while Starboard, which recently changed its name from Olympic Media, developed a plan to launch a revamped version of the site.
“It’s going to take a breath of fresh air,” said Ryan Coyne, chief executive officer and founder of Starboard, which owns conservative-leaning news sites such as American Wire News and BizPac Review.
According to The Wall Street Journal, last year Parliament set out to sell Parler and it wanted to focus on providing cloud and other infrastructure services to online businesses at risk of being forced off the internet for controversial content. In October, Parliament said it entered into an agreement to be bought by Mr. West, who now legally goes by Ye, but the deal ended weeks later, after the rapper ran into financial difficulties.
Engadget reported that 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 Parliament Technologies.
Starboard posted the following on the Parler website (after shutting down Parler itself):
“Alexandria, VA – April 14, 2023 – Starboard (Formerly, Olympic Media) announced today that it has concluded the acquisition of Parler, the world’s pioneering uncancelable free speech platform.
No reasonable person believes that a Twitter clone just for conservatives is a viable business any more. By refocusing on the cloud and IT infrastructure space George Farmer has done an exceptional job at successfully leading Parliament into a critically important industry where it has already begun to excel.
Starboard is the perfect home for the Parler brand and its longtime loyal users. “Parler’s large user base and additional strategic assets represent an enormous opportunity for Starboard to continue to build aggressively our media and publishing business. The team at Parler has built an exceptional audience and we look forward to integrating that audience across all of our existing platforms.” said Ryan Coyne, CEO of Starboard.
While the Parler app as it 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 – building a home of them away from the ad-hoc regulatory hand of platforms that hate them…”
Personally, I’m not quite sure what to think about Starboard’s announcement about it’s plans for Parler. The company claims to “continue to serve marginalized people”. But I cannot help but wonder if the “marginalized” people will mostly be the same ones who were on Parler before the app was shut down.