Former Parler Employees Trash Company, Plot New Website in Discord Chat newsusface

Former employees at Parler, the alternative social media platform used to help organize the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol building, are privately fuming that their site was sold and are brainstorming ways to re-launch the controversial platform.

In message logs obtained and reviewed by The Daily Beast, select Parler allies and ex-employees have been sharing their personal gripes in a Discord server called “Parler Life Raft” in recent months as the “free speech” site has taken a tumble.

Despite the site recently being sold and temporarily shutting down, some former staffers believe a Parler-inspired site can be re-launched and have taken aim at senior management for the company’s downfall.

“Parler management are straight up f*ggots,” Dennis Harrison, whose LinkedIn identifies him as a lead engineer at the company, wrote in a private Discord server this past Sunday. “They ruined something good.”

“They finally revoked my VPN access so I can no longer run bootleg Parler from the Parler laptop they gave me,” Harrison complained in another message. “I’ll take forever to send back.”

In a subsequent post, Harrison wrote that the new version of the spin-off site would be mostly based on Parler. “We can probably commit to sending out [a] link next week, as long as everyone knows it’s beta,” he wrote on Discord. “Probably 65% Parler. Totally wild west for the next month.”

Parler has been temporarily shut down by new owner Starboard.

Oliver Douliery/Getty Images

Harrison was far from alone when it came to expressing frustration at what Parler had turned into.

“They don’t have any social media experience,” Luke Francke, a Germany-based Parler superfan and beta tester, said about Parler’s new owner Starboard, which announced last week it had purchased the site for an undisclosed sum. “They can’t do an account handle change without keeping the old one for backup.”

“Followers gone. Friends gone. People are angry now,” he added.

But it didn’t stop there, with Parler loyalists, including its co-founder and former CEO, turning on the company they spent time building. John Matze, who helped launch the site in 2018, took aim at what the newly sold platform had become.

“Many of the original founders and employees can’t even say the name anymore,” he wrote. “But I understand wanting to hold onto the good memories of what we all had. I miss the community.”

Matze continued by floating the idea of torching old Parler merchandise.

“Maybe burn it. Let’s find something new,” he wrote. “I trashed everything Parler from my house a long time ago.”

In October, Kanye West announced plans to buy Parler just days after Instagram and Twitter restricted his accounts due to antisemitic comments. However, the deal collapsed just weeks later.

“I tell ya what, as soon as I was told about the Ye thing, I knew the platform was doomed,” another user in the highly selective Discord chat wrote with the username Ootsie. “My son could tell by the look on my face too.”

Kanye West announced in October that he was buying Parler before the deal collapsed just weeks later.

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Even before then, Parler has had a rough run.

The social media site was founded with the financial backing of the conservative mega-donors Robert and Rebekah Mercer, and throughout 2020 experienced profound growth until the limited-moderation site found their users utilizing their platform to organize the Capitol riot. That ultimately prompted third-party services such as Amazon and Apple to boot them from their platforms, citing Parler’s inability to moderate right-wing extremists on their site.

As Mediaite reported in early January 2021, pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood wrote a series of unhinged messages on the site about killing then-Vice President Mike Pence over a perceived lack of loyalty to Donald Trump. “Get the firing squads ready. Pence goes FIRST,” he said after the Jan. 6 attack.

More recently, after Elon Musk purchased Twitter, right-leaning social media platforms have become far less in-demand, especially with the Tesla CEO rolling back previously issued bans on far-right extremists. As a result, Parler’s audience shrunk as users flocked back to Twitter.

While many Parler hardcore believers and ex-employees grow increasingly upset, Harrison has begun plotting to bring a Parler-like platform back onto the internet.

“We’re getting an entity setup so we can take donations/money whatever to help with some of the costs,” the former Parler engineer wrote on the Discord channel. “Currently about $300 a month just for the dev stuff.”

“Once we start making it public, that will go up to $500 a month, I bet,” he continued.

Reached for comment by The Daily Beast, Harrison said they don’t plan to restart Parler. “We’re just doing something better,” he said.

While many online seemed excited about the prospects of re-launching a version of Parler, Amy Piekoff, who was the site’s chief policy officer, told The Daily Beast she isn’t part of a re-attempt. “No, I’m not,” she said.

An account with the username “jlowry,” whom The Daily Beast identified as a Houston-area health-care IT professional named Jason Lowry, responded to the news of a new site with a “YAAAAAASSSSSS” meme. Others likewise applauded the decision for a re-launch.

While a rowdy band of Parler castaways eye a new site that remains nameless, they have started musing on what they could call the equivalent of a retweet.

“#ParlerPoll If you could name a share action on a social media, what would you call it,” a user that goes by the alias “RadianceLux,” who in real life is a Texas-based Army major named Brett Humphreys. (He is also a former Parler employee.)

“RePost is probably the most basic,” Lowry responded. “Maybe ShoutOut?” Other Parler-loving Discord server users shared their thoughts, including that “reshout sounds too loud.”

Starboard CEO Ryan Coyne, the executive whose firm recently purchased Parler, told The Daily Beast: “I’ll pray for them.”

Humphreys didn’t return The Daily Beast’s request for comment on this story.

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