The origins of Parler

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despondentdiver

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A very interesting thread about the alt-right social network Parler:


This is a quick unroll copy-paste of the twitter thread for your convenience if you don't have twitter :

So let’s talk about Parler. Where did it come from? Founder John Matze met his now wife, Alina Mukhutdinova, in May 15, 2016 in Las Vegas. Alina is from Kazan, Russia. She was on a two week road trip “vacation” across the USA with a friend.

(This sounds a lot like this USA road trip taken by Anna Bogacheva and Aleksandra Krylova in 2014.) washingtonpost.com/world/europe/r…
John was involved in a couple of unremarkable tech companies with college friend Jared Thomson. After a short stint working at Amazon in Seattle, and being unhappy there, he and Alina return to Vegas and decide to marry. They traveled to Russia in November 2017.

John and Alina were married December 2, 2017 in Kazan, Tatarstan, Russia. They were married in a government facility overseen by Alina’s mother, Gulnara Mukhutdinova, a longtime government functionary. Gulnara’s mother was an “Honored Builder of Russia” in Soviet times.



John and Alina traveled in Russia and in Europe extensively between December and July 2018. They returned to Vegas and launched Parler with Jared Thomson in August 2018. Almost no one joined between August and December 2018; it was in early alpha stages.

In December 2018, the site received a massive influx of new users (tens of thousands) thanks to publicity from “far right” LARPers Candace Owens and Cassandra Fairbanks. Many operatives reserved accounts that month as a result of this push, including Owens’ pal Kanye West.

As the company grew in 2019, they turned to Jesse Benton, a political operative who had worked with Ron Paul, Rand Paul, and Mitch McConnell. Benton was indicted and found guilty of election finance violations. Benton is married to Ron Paul’s granddaughter Valori Pyeatt.

Benton became the company’s PR consultant and primary press contact. To help with marketing, they enlisted the hospitality coordinator of the BLT Prime steakhouse at the Trump hotel in DC, Elise Rhodes. She had no prior marketing experience, it seems.

As the company expanded in 2019, it has been squarely focused on creating conditions that would challenge section 230 of the communications decency act. The company’s purpose seems to be expressly political and aimed at eroding US social media firms.

Now let’s talk money. Parler LLC is owned by two member entities: John Matze and NDMASCENDANT LLC. There is no public record of who comprises NDMASCENDANT LLC. It is a Delaware corporation. The company has not raised any traditional VC rounds that we can see.



Parler has claimed that Dan Bongino (notorious Republican media personality) has made strategic investments in the company. However it is unlikely he would have sufficient capital to fuel such a firm. Likewise “cryptocurrency investor” Jeffrey Wernick has said he is an investor.

However none of this passes the sniff test: any company aiming to challenge firms at Twitter scale needs a massive supply of funds to hire employees competitively and pay for rapidly scalable computing infrastructure.

Also, the kinds of employees the company needs cost over $100k per year each, even in Las Vegas. $120k-150k is a more competitive salary. These folks do not come easily and are in short, inelastic supply. They also have to compete on ideological grounds...

Limiting their employee pool to people ideologically committed to Parler’s bizarre anti-social mission is going to be a tough sell, and difficult to scale. The firm is likely to need technical and infrastructure help from outside to survive, as its weird revenue model is nascent.

In the last couple of days Fox News advanced rumors that Parler was owned by George Soros, a claim for which there is zero evidence. Bongino was quick to step up and say that he owns it. That’s not how large scale tech investment works and this is BS.


Additionally, flooding the zone with shit noise about the company’s ownership would seem to be a way of deflecting attention away from valid questions about that exact question. Who does own it? Where is the money, tech talent and infrastructure coming from? Follow the money.

I believe that @TechCrunch, @theinformation @TheVerge and other outlets that cover this realm need to dig in and get to the bottom of this. Parler is the #1 app in the App Store and has been off and on for months. It sucks, but it’s growing.
The company seems to like to promote the Epoch Times. Epoch Times is owned by Falun Gong, and aligned with Steve Bannon’s buddy Guo Wengui. They may also have an interest in Parler’s trajectory and finances. We don’t know. Again, what’s NDMASCENDANT LLC?

I’ve been sitting on this information for six months and hoping media outlets would cover it and get up to speed on this. It hasn’t happened; our press corps is spread to thin. There is no “smoking gun” here. Everybody is behaving within their legal rights, it seems.

But it doesn’t add up. Non-descript tech bro randomly meets ostensible Russian honeypot, travels to Russia, marries her, then returns to US to start a whacko social network with explicit political aims, in partnership with Russia aligned ops? Uh, ok.

This is not some kind of free-speech tech dudebros just tryna let people do their thing. This is a calculated political and economic attack on US interests and we should treat it accordingly. The fact that it sucks makes that easier. But it may get better.

My hope is that when reporters like @MattBinder set out to write lengthy “what you need to know” pieces like this one, they go a little deeper and ask basic structural questions. Like where the f*ck would Dan Bongino get enough money to fund this?!?
Hey @mikebutcher heads up re: this thread.
Oh, and one more thing. It seems NDMASCENDANT LLC was filed by Greenberg Traurig, LLP. If that sounds familiar it’s because it’s Rudy Giuliani’s former firm. He was traveling in Russia and the region at the time Parler was founded in late 2018.

And we have heard some speculation that Robert and Rebekah Mercer may be the source of funds for NDMASCENDANT, but we cannot confirm that at this time. But here is Rudy traveling in Russia around that time.
 
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Edd

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Returns from Russia and starts a right wing looney website. OK.
 

SuperMatt

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I haven’t been on it, but based on the blatant lies people like Herdfan posts on MR Forums with a “source” of Parler, it sounds like it is a Russian troll farm/propaganda tool.
 

JayMysteri0

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Someone sees money in there

Social media app Parler receives financial backing from conservative hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, The Wall Street Journal reported. The app, founded as an alternative to Twitter and Facebook which bills itself as “viewpoint neutral” saw nearly 1 million new downloads in the days after the US presidential election, rocketing it to the top of the iOS and Google Play app stores.

Parler turned into a kind of de facto home for conservatives’ protests against the election— including the persistent “Stop the Steal” campaign— after the race was called for former Vice President Joe Biden. Several high-profile conservative social media personalities encouraged people to abandon Twitter and Facebook because of their moderation policies, and instead follow them on Parler.

According to the WSJ, the Mercers, known for giving financial support to conservative causes and organizations, including Cambridge Analytica, have not previously revealed their connection to Parler.

In a “parley” (what Parler calls its posts) on Saturday, a user with the handle Rebekah Mercer and a yellow “verified” badge said she and “John,” an apparent reference to Parler CEO John Matze, “started Parler to provide a neutral platform for free speech as our founders intended,” and that “the ever increasing tyranny and hubris of our tech overlords lead the fight against data mining” and online free speech.

Matze replied: “Bekah is a great friend, an American patriot,” and said he was grateful for her support.
 

JayMysteri0

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Interesting things continue to spawn from things related to Parler

There’s been a mass exodus of conservatives from Twitter and Facebook amid complaints of censorship and “free speech” dog-whistling in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. Many have found a new home on Parler, a platform founded in 2018 and reportedly backed by Trump donors that sells itself as “unbiased social media.”

On Sunday, a post there may have blown the lid off a long-simmering mystery: The identity of Q, the alias behind the anonymous person(s) claiming to be a high-ranking government official whose cryptic posts launched the QAnon conspiracy movement.

A verified Parler user that appeared to be Ron Watkins, a former administrator at the controversial anonymous message board 8kun, published a post on Sunday confirming that his father, 8kun-owner Jim Watkins, made posts posing as Q.

“Yes, Jim has posted as Q before. Fuck you, dad,” wrote the user, who also went by Ron Watkins’ handle, @CodeMonkeyZ. The account has since been deleted, though screenshots of the post quickly began circulating online.
 

lizkat

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If this is true ( I won't be joining parler to find out ) this sums up the success the app will have since the election of 45.


I can't pretend to be surprised when you combine the supposed piece of work behind the post + the platform. It's a match happily made in hell.

If she's running her campaign against Raphael Warnock from the Parler platform, things must be pretty dismal for her outlook never mind makes one wonder about status of the RNC's treasury.

Oh, I forgot about dark money the Rs will be pouring in.

Well I'm still not going to look in on Parler for reliable updates on politics or anything else.

Would be comical that Loeffler now whines about increased [Democratic Party] voter registration in Georgia.... if not for the facts of that state's long history of voter suppression.

Hope that voters already engaged by The New Georgia Project can help turn out the blue vote in January. Sure, money matters in the age of Citizens United telling corporations it's ok to buy all the free speech they feel like buying, and grassroots efforts to counter that onslaught have been impressive, but in a honest election in the USA, it's voters showing up to vote that count.
 

PearsonX

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Would be comical that Loeffler now whines about increased [Democratic Party] voter registration in Georgia.... if not for the facts of that state's long history of voter suppression.

I get a lot of kick out of this:D

Not sure if you guys noticed but all these alt-right websites fail to become mainstream because they either go full nazi in a matter of a few weeks, or they start "censoring" posts which propel the nazis to look for a new platform. It's really entertaining.
 

lizkat

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I get a lot of kick out of this:D

Not sure if you guys noticed but all these alt-right websites fail to become mainstream because they either go full nazi in a matter of a few weeks, or they start "censoring" posts which propel the nazis to look for a new platform. It's really entertaining.

What cracks me up is that Republicans in the lame duck session of the 116th Congress want to haul in Zuckerberg and Dorsey and harangue them (n the wake of Trump's loss) for having censored "conservative" thought on Facebook and Twitter.

Conservative thoughts like "I WON THIS ELECTION" tweeted by Trump this morning? Really?

(Twitter did not even censor that, it was just tagged: "Official sources called this election differently.")
 

ericgtr12

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I get a lot of kick out of this:D

Not sure if you guys noticed but all these alt-right websites fail to become mainstream because they either go full nazi in a matter of a few weeks, or they start "censoring" posts which propel the nazis to look for a new platform. It's really entertaining.
My guess is they'll eventually get tagged for domestic terrorism, which is essentially the main reason they've been banned from any credible social media platform. Without Trump giving them center stage they'll crawl back into the woodwork of cooky conspiracy theories that we'll either point and laugh at or look on in terror when they're hauled off like in Michigan.
 

PearsonX

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My guess is they'll eventually get tagged for domestic terrorism, which is essentially the main reason they've been banned from any credible social media platform. Without Trump giving them center stage they'll crawl back into the woodwork of cooky conspiracy theories that we'll either point and laugh at or look on in terror when they're hauled off like in Michigan.
This is exactly what these "conservative" social networking sites remind me of. One of the few jokes that made me laugh really hard from Rick&Morty:
 

dogslobber

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If she's running her campaign against Raphael Warnock from the Parler platform, things must be pretty dismal for her outlook never mind makes one wonder about status of the RNC's treasury.

Oh, I forgot about dark money the Rs will be pouring in.

Well I'm still not going to look in on Parler for reliable updates on politics or anything else.

Would be comical that Loeffler now whines about increased [Democratic Party] voter registration in Georgia.... if not for the facts of that state's long history of voter suppression.

Hope that voters already engaged by The New Georgia Project can help turn out the blue vote in January. Sure, money matters in the age of Citizens United telling corporations it's ok to buy all the free speech they feel like buying, and grassroots efforts to counter that onslaught have been impressive, but in a honest election in the USA, it's voters showing up to vote that count.
I thought I read GA is the most racist state in the nation. The old white male voter is a dying breed nowadays so maybe GA will vote x2 Dem senators. Loeffler is the one who did insider trading on COVID info back in March. The other one did something terrible too which I keep forgetting about!
 

lizkat

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I thought I read GA is the most racist state in the nation. The old white male voter is a dying breed nowadays so maybe GA will vote x2 Dem senators. Loeffler is the one who did insider trading on COVID info back in March. The other one did something terrible too which I keep forgetting about!

Well David Perdue also engaged in some self-dealing market transactions immediately after a private briefing given the Senate about covid-19 back on January 24th. Loeffler was apparently mostly dumping stock in anticipation of a market slide when news of covid's spread would become public, but Senator Perdue bought into DuPont, a maker of assorted personal protective equipment.

Past that, Senator Perdue, a Trump loyalist, notoriously warmed up a Trump rally crowd last month by pretending not to know how to pronounce the name of then Democratic Party VP candidate Harris, this despite the fact that Senator Harris and Senator Perdue have served together in the Senate since 2017. Perdue's remark:

“The most insidious thing that Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden are trying to perpetrate, and Bernie, and Elizabeth, and KAH-mah-la, or Kah-MAH-la, or KAH-mah-la or Kamala-mala-mala, I don’t know, whatever,” he said."

Perdue's mockery of Harris was widely seen as xenophobic and racist. His PR spokesman said Perdue didn't mean anything by it, although the crowd Perdue was pitching to had erupted in cheers and laughter, so apparently they took it to mean "something"...

Also, Perdue was among those who had attended a meeting on immigration with Trump when the President was alleged to have complained about people coming to the US "from shithole countries". Perdue later claimed in a televised interview on ABC that the President had not said that. But, Senator Scott (R-SC) said South Carolina's other Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, also at that meeting, had said to Scott that the reported comment was "basically accurate".
 

PearsonX

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Perdue's mockery of Harris was widely seen as xenophobic and racist. His PR spokesman said Perdue didn't mean anything by it, although the crowd Perdue was pitching to had erupted in cheers and laughter, so apparently they took it to mean "something"...
I've dealt with this sort of racism all my life. They do it to piss you off but deny this goal immediately, so if you get angry they win by showing that you are a subhuman with issues regulating their impulses. Once you're used to it, it's actually helpful, because you'll know which people never ever to trust on any level.
 

dogslobber

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Perdue's mockery of Harris was widely seen as xenophobic and racist. His PR spokesman said Perdue didn't mean anything by it, although the crowd Perdue was pitching to had erupted in cheers and laughter, so apparently they took it to mean "something"...

Also, Perdue was among those who had attended a meeting on immigration with Trump when the President was alleged to have complained about people coming to the US "from shithole countries". Perdue later claimed in a televised interview on ABC that the President had not said that. But, Senator Scott (R-SC) said South Carolina's other Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, also at that meeting, had said to Scott that the reported comment was "basically accurate".
Yeah that's it, he is racist by mocking her name like that. Just becuase he doesn't think saying such is racist doesn't mean it isn't. You know, Trump's antics and bluster have allowed these weasals to overcome their own inhibitions by following their leader. They're racist to the core this Republican party mob.
 

ericgtr12

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I've dealt with this sort of racism all my life. They do it to piss you off but deny this goal immediately, so if you get angry they win by showing that you are a subhuman with issues regulating their impulses. Once you're used to it, it's actually helpful, because you'll know which people never ever to trust on any level.
It's big of you to look at it that way but doesn't make it any less disgusting. When you look back in history, even in our lifetimes, the level of hatred leveled towards black people simply for the color of their skin is sickening and makes me doubt humanity as a whole sometimes.
 

iMi

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I tried joining Parler but they asks you to state your IQ and the response field only allows two digit numbers. I’m sure it’s a fucking think-tank over there. I doubt we’re missing anything. 🤷‍♂️
 
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