Parler, the conservative social network that rose to prominence in 2018, will be temporarily shut down as a new owner retools the site.
Digital media company Starboard has agreed to buy the site after a previous acquisition agreement with Kanye West, announced last October, dissolved. Terms of the deal were not released.
“No reasonable person believes that a Twitter clone just for conservatives is a viable business any more,” Starboard said in a statement on the now-dark Parler site. “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.”
Parler was founded after Twitter’s content moderation policies came under fire by the far right, which accused the company of censorship. It was a popular alternative for people whose accounts were banned, including talk show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
In 2021, however, the site found itself under the microscope after discoveries that key players of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol used Parler to organize. Both Apple and Google then removed it from their app stores. (It returned roughly a month later and the previous owners began to pivot to a business strategy of providing cloud services for businesses whose controversial practices left them unable to find another home.)
Starboard, formerly known as Olympic Media, was founded in 2018 by Ryan Coyne and describes itself as “a digital advertising and fundraising company.” It also owns two far-right conservative media outlets—American Wire and BizPac Review, which share much of the same staff.
Beyond his work with Starboard, Coyne is also the founder of the Working Warrior Foundation, a charity that helps veterans find jobs, and We the People Wine, which describes itself as “made for Americans by Americans.”