Massive, Unexpected Growth on New Free Speech Platform, Bypassing Shadow Bans—Parler CEO John Matze.
Today we sit down with Parler co-founder and CEO John Matze, who seeks to re-create social media into what is, in his eyes: a true public square. We look at the world of social media through his eyes and discuss his hopes for this budding new platform. We also talk about what it is about Parler that led to an influx of hundreds of thousands of Saudi Arabian users in a matter of days. And we discuss how social media giants are effectively taking on publisher roles instead of living up to their promise of being the public square.
Jan Jekielek: So, John, you are the founder and CEO of Parler, or now I think you’re calling it “parlor”—more phonetically.
John Matze: Exactly. Yes. No one knew how to pronounce Parler. It did lead to some nice air time though on some television networks who couldn’t figure out how to pronounce it. So, I’ll take what we get.
Mr. Jekielek: So you’re effectively a social media. You started out as a commenting platform?
Mr. Matze: Yeah. So that’s basically how we started. As we said, there are all these commenting platforms and publications, and some of them are taking their own liberty to dictate the course of the conversation. I said, well we shouldn’t do that. We should give them the tools, which a lot of them have the tools, to allow the publication to navigate that conversation. And then as we built that, we go, well when you have comments, you got to comment on something. Well, instead of an article, what if the article is a post that just has an article in it? Well, if it’s a post, what if people want to share the post with each other? And I’m like, wait, are we just recreating a social media entirely? And then we went …[that’s] basically what we’re doing. So that’s what kind of came out of it—let’s create a social media that has the enterprise tools that publications have where people can dictate the conversation and moderate it, but for their own profile. And so the idea is that you have your social media presence, but if you don’t like what someone has to say, you can boot it off the comment section. You can mute them, you can get them out of there, whatever you need to do. And the whole purpose was to give people that power rather than having a central point of authority being the only figure that has that power.
Mr. Jekielek: Oh, it’s fascinating. In fact, you know, that’s how we became acquainted with you, with Parler. I keep wanting to say “par-lay.” And yeah, in fact, we’re using it.
Mr. Matze: You guys were one of the first publications that bought onto the idea and actually joined and your, you know, your content’s in the discover section over there. If you use the app, you can see it, and it’s coming in. I get a lot more people trying to fight for those spots now, but—
Mr. Jekielek: Oh, yeah.
Mr. Matze: We’re proud that The Epoch Times is there.
Mr. Jekielek: I’m glad. I just made my account about a week ago, so we’ll see how that goes.
Mr. Matze: OK. Yeah. You have to make some posts and as soon as people start echoing them—that’s our term for like re-tweeting, echo—as soon as people start echoing them, your follower account is going to jump up real quick.
Mr. Jekielek: So speaking of, you know, followers or users, you were telling me that in the last few days you’ve been experiencing some kind of massive growth from an unexpected place. Can you tell me a little more?
Mr. Matze: Sure. Yeah. So our user base before this boom was mostly Trump conservatives. And so they were, with the exception of some minority groups—like we had a couple LGBT groups that were forming and other people who wanted to actually have a discussion—but for the most part, it has been Trump’s core base. And randomly, I guess, an interview that I had went viral in Saudi Arabia, and people loved the idea of this free speechplatform. And they jumped on, and we took 2 percent of Twitter’s market share in Saudi Arabia in one night. We saw some definite problems with the infrastructure right off the bat, considering the servers are so far from Saudi Arabia and everything—but was really happy to have that. So now we have a very interesting mix of about a 50/50 split of Trump, MAGA conservatives, and religious Muslim, Saudi nationalists, I guess, all on the same platform. And so when you scroll through the user feed and it shows you the most active users. you see there’s a mix of Arabic and English and Arabic. And it’s very interesting to see how these two groups are coming together really unexpectedly. keep reading or watch HERE
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