An upcoming book alleges that during platform negotiations in January 2021, former President Donald Trump reportedly insisted that “free speech” social media website Parler would have to ban any user who criticized him in order for him to join the platform following the 2020 presidential election.
In an excerpt from an upcoming book about the final days of the Trump presidency penned by Michael Wolff, the relationship between the Mercer family-backed Parler and Trump’s team is briefly mentioned.
“One curious point of consideration for the [Trump] family [the morning of January 6th] — prescient of the events that would shortly unfold — was a follow-up to a discussion initiated some months before by aides and family,” the excerpt reads. “Trump representatives, working with Trump-family members, had approached Parler, the social network backed by Bob Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, far-right exponents and large Trump contributors. They had floated a proposition that Trump, after he left office, become an active member of Parler, moving much of his social-media activity there from Twitter. In return, Trump would receive 40 percent of Parler’s gross revenues and the service would ban anyone who spoke negatively about him.”
Wolff notes, “Parler was balking only at this last condition.”
Gab CEO Andrew Torba commented on the excerpt this Tuesday, writing “Looks like Gab wasn’t the only one asked by Trump’s team to censor.” Torba had revealed earlier this month that Trump advisor Jared Kushner had demanded that Gab censor any criticism of Zionism and Israel, in direct opposition to Gab’s free speech values. Kushner’s obsession with banning “anti-semitism,” as well as claims directed at Trump by Dan Scavino and Kushner that the platform was not “well managed,” led to the rapid deterioration of platform negotiations with Gab.
Even after ceding to the demands of mobile app stores and introducing “trolling” filters for content, traffic tracking data indicates that Parler’s already-flagging user base is continuing to rapidly dissolve.