April 14, 2023

Parler Shut Down by New Owner: ‘A Twitter Clone’ for Conservatives Is Not a ‘Viable Business’

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Parler, the self-described “uncancelable free-speech social platform” that catered to right-wing users — which was nearly acquired by Kanye West last year — has been shut down by its new owner.

“No reasonable person believes that a Twitter clone just for conservatives is a viable business any more,” Arlington, Va.-based digital media company Starboard said in announcing Friday that it had acquired Parler. The terms of the deal are not being disclosed; Starboard said it expects the deal to be accretive by the end of the second quarter of 2023.

Instead of continuing to offer Parler as a consumer-facing social service, Starboard said it would leverage Parler’s assets across its existing businesses as well as provide information-technology services to customers in “marginalized or even outright censored communities – even extending beyond domestic politics.” Starboard said the Parler acquisition gives it an opportunity to “begin servicing unsupported online communities – building a home for them away from the ad-hoc regulatory hand of platforms that hate them.”

“Parler’s large user base and additional strategic assets represent an enormous opportunity for Starboard to continue to build aggressively in our media and publishing business,” Starboard CEO Ryan Coyne said in a statement. “The team at Parler has built an exceptional audience and we look forward to integrating that audience across all of our existing platforms.”

Founded in 2018 by Coyne, Starboard (formerly called Olympic Media) describes itself as a digital media conglomerate that houses business lines focused on “digital advertising, fundraising, publishing and consumer brands.” Coyne previously worked as an investment banking analyst at J.P. Morgan Chase, according to his LinkedIn bio.

In October 2022, Kanye “Ye” West and Parler had announced a provisional agreement for the music artist and entrepreneur to buy Parler. West appeared to be motivated to buy Parler after he was temporarily suspended from Twitter and Instagram over antisemitic posts. In December, Parler announced that the deal had been called off by mutual agreement. That came shortly after West appeared on Alex Jones’ Infowars show, where among other things West expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler. West had already been met with a major backlash over his antisemitic statements, including Adidas canceling its sneaker deal with him.



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