Parler, social media site removed from app stores after January 6, plans return

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Parler, a social media platform popular with right-wing audiences that was removed from app stores after hosting calls for violence around Jan. 6, 2021, will relaunch early next year, the company’s new owners announced Monday.

“We’re committed to bringing Parler back online,” Ryan Rhodes, Parler’s new CEO, said in a statement. The app was shut down in April after it was purchased by Starboard, a digital media company.

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Rhodes, Elise Pierotti, who was previously the company’s chief marketing officer, and a third partner, Jaco Booyens, purchased the company last week, Pierotti said.

Parler, which had billed itself as a platform for “uncancelable free speech,” used to draw millions of supporters of former President Donald Trump and was once the most downloaded app on Apple’s App Store. But tech companies pulled their support for the platform soon after the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol, saying that the company did not do enough to police posts that incited violence or crime.

Apple and Google banned the app from their app stores, and Amazon booted the company from its web-hosting service. Effectively banned from app stores on virtually all of the world’s smartphones, the platform then struggled to maintain its user base. It was later reinstated in both the Apple and Google app stores.

Now, the app is positioned to return as Trump seeks the presidency for a third time. The relaunch is scheduled for February.

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Rhodes said Parler’s new management would take measures to keep “harmful content like terrorism, child porn and trafficking off our platform.” Rhodes added that the platform’s newest iteration would not aim to compete with Truth Social, the conservative social media company started by Trump. That site has dominated the conservative social media space in Parler’s absence, crowding out rival platforms like Gab, Gettr, MeWe and Minds.

Parler said in a statement that it would emphasize “a return to its roots as a robust marketplace of ideas.”

The embattled social media platform had made headlines last year when a deal for Kanye West, the rapper criticized over his antisemitic remarks, to buy it unraveled soon after it was announced.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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