(Reuters) – Social media platform Parler, which styles itself as a “free speech-driven” space, gets funding from hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer and his daughter and conservative activist Rebekah, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.
U.S. right-wing social media users have flocked to Parler, messaging app Telegram and hands-off social site Gab, citing the more aggressive policing of political comments on mainstream platforms such as Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc .
Parler Chief Executive Officer John Matze, who describes himself as libertarian, has said he founded the company in 2018 as a bipartisan platform but has doubled down on marketing to conservatives as they took to the site.
Those who have joined include commentator Candace Owens, President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and right-wing activist Laura Loomer, who handcuffed herself to the door of Twitter’s New York office in Nov. 2018 to protest a ban on her by the site.
“John and I started Parler to provide a neutral platform for free speech, as our founders intended, and also to create a social media environment that would protect data privacy,” Rebekah said in a post on Parler.
“The ever increasing tyranny and hubris of our tech overlords demands that someone lead the fight against data mining, and for the protection of free speech online,” she added.
The company’s user base more than doubled to 10 million in under a week, making it difficult for its roughly 30-person staff to keep up with the new sign-ups, according to the WSJ. on.wsj.com.
Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio