SPONSORED:

Parler CEO: 'Not against the law' to express 'crazy' opinions

The CEO of conservative-boosted social media app Parler on Tuesday responded to criticism that the platform could spread extreme opinions and misinformation, saying that “people say crazy things all the time” and “it's not against the law to have those opinions.” 

While appearing on Fox News’s “Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonHow critical race theory became today's defining culture-war issue Tucker Carlson on running for president: 'I guess if like I was the last person on Earth' New York Times: Tucker Carlson a source for many journalists MORE Tonight,” John Matze responded to questions from Carlson on why “corporate media is so afraid of what you’re doing.” 

“I always ask them, ‘What do you think of the First Amendment? Do you believe that we should have somebody in New York, let’s say in the middle of Times Square, telling you what you can and cannot say?'” Matze said. “Because that’s what these companies are doing.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

“I don’t know why they’re so afraid. Maybe it’s because they don’t like that people are getting power again,” he continued. 

Matze later added that "when you go out in public, people say crazy things all the time. Everybody has opinions, and some of them might not be the norm.”

"But it's not against the law to have those opinions," he added. "It's not against the law to express yourself. 

“And if you like one political candidate or another, or you believe or don't believe in climate change,” he continued, “you shouldn't be taken offline because of it."

Parler has gained particular popularity since Election Day, with some Republicans promoting claims of anti-conservative bias on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, which have recently taken more strict measures to limit misinformation surrounding the 2020 elections. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Ahead of the elections, Parler released a memo detailing plans to “host unfiltered content during the 2020 election season.”

“Trust in and respect for election results requires transparency. The People deserve to consider all sides and sources, so that they may exercise and act upon their own best judgment,” the company wrote in its memo. “No one should be banned or censored for his or her views, whether by government or by Silicon Valley do-gooders.”

Experts have raised concerns that Parler’s commitment to leaving it up to users to regulate content on its platform could lead to a feeding ground for conspiracy theories and unsupported claims about elections, public officials and political issues. 

“Anytime you take a laissez faire approach to moderation — you say ‘anything goes’ right up until actual threats of real world violence — that creates a huge space for some really problematic things to happen,” Bret Schafer, a fellow focusing on disinformation at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, told The Hill last week

Some conservatives, including Republican Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzNew Jersey governor tweaks Cruz on Cancun over moving truck quip Hirono tells Ted Cruz to stop 'mansplaining' Senate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry MORE (Texas), have urged their Twitter followers to join Parler. While Cruz still maintains 4.1 million followers on Twitter, he already has approximately 3.6 million Parler followers.

The platform has gained support as President TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE has repeated disputed claims that the presidential election was rigged in favor of President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenSchumer vows to advance two-pronged infrastructure plan next month Biden appoints veteran housing, banking regulator as acting FHFA chief Iran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' MORE, citing unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. 

Election experts, local election officials and courts have denied these claims, and Republicans announced this week that they would be dropping federal election lawsuits in Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.