Trump wanted to join Parler and call himself ‘Person X’ before it shut down, according to the CEO of the social-media app

Parler CEO John Matze and President Donald Trump. Fox News, Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump considered creating an account on Parler under the pseudonym “Person X,” its CEO, John Matze, said Wednesday.
  • Matze argued in a court filing that Parler’s web host, Amazon Web Services, was aware of this since at least October and that the possibility of Trump joining Parler was part of the reason AWS cut ties with the network on Monday.
  • “There is no merit to these claims,” an Amazon spokesperson told Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump considered creating an account on Parler, the social-media app popular with his followers, under the pseudonym “Person X,” Parler CEO John Matze said in a court filing Wednesday.

Matze went on to allege that Amazon Web Services was aware of these plans and actually terminated its contract with Parler this week in part to deny Trump a further social-media presence.

AWS cutting off Parler on Monday took the app offline, and Matze believes it may never come back.

AWS said Parler “poses a very real risk to public safety,” and Google and Apple barred the app from their app stores. Parler had become a haven for far-right activity and misinformation because of its lax stance on moderating content, and some users called for further violence during the US Capitol riot on January 6.

Matze’s filing Wednesday came after the social-media network hit AWS with an antitrust lawsuit. The filing disputed Amazon’s claims that it had repeatedly warned Parler about suspending the platform’s contract because of violent content.

In Wednesday’s filing, Matze said an AWS representative assigned to Parler had been aware since at least October that Trump was thinking about creating an account on the platform. The representative was in frequent contact with Matze about this, he added, arguing the person therefore should have also been aware that this would bring a surge of Trump’s supporters to Parler.

“[Retracted], who is a Joe Biden supporter, was AWS’s representative assigned to me by AWS, and was aware since at least October 11, 2020, that Trump was considering moving to Parler under the pseudonym ‘Person X,'” Matze wrote.

The representative “frequently” contacted him about this, Matze said, adding: “AWS knew there was a possibility that Trump might obtain a Parler account, likely bringing with him a surge of followers to the Parler platform.”

Matze said that “based on my interactions with AWS personnel during this period, I believe AWS’s decision to terminate service to Parler was based, not on expressed concerns about Parler’s compliance with the AWS Agreement, but in part on a desire to deny President Trump a platform on any large social-media service.”

He added: “AWS had inside and confidential knowledge from Parler about when and if he would join.”

There is “no merit” to Matze’s claims that AWS booted Parler to stop Trump from getting an account, an Amazon spokesperson told Insider, explaining that it provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum.

It instead made the move because of content on the site that a encourages and incites violence, Amazon said.

“We made our concerns known to Parler over a number of weeks and during that time we saw a significant increase in this type of dangerous content, not a decrease, which led to our suspension of their services Sunday evening,” it added.

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Since the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, numerous social-media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat have locked or permanently banned Trump’s accounts, which might have made it more likely for Trump to turn to Parler as an alternative.

Matze said in the filing that AWS expressed concerns about its agreement with Parler only after Twitter announced that it was barring Trump from its platform.

In the filing, Matze also claimed Amazon hadn’t raised concerns about Parler’s content-moderation system until January 8. Amazon on Tuesday said that it had issued repeated warnings since mid-November and that Parler had refused to remove more than 100 examples of violent content, including death threats.

Matze also said Parler was dropped by the workplace-messaging service Slack, which made it difficult for Parler employees to monitor its content.

“Losing Slack makes it extremely difficult to effectively enforce our terms of service with our almost 600 volunteer and paid Jury members,” he wrote.