Candace Owens’ husband becomes CEO of Parler as it returns to Apple App Store

George Farmer was formerly chairman of Turning Point UK

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Thursday 20 May 2021 17:18 EDT
Candace Owens and husband George Farmer at a White House event in October 2019 organised by Turning Points USA
Candace Owens and husband George Farmer at a White House event in October 2019 organised by Turning Points USA

Social media app Parler has named George Farmer, husband of Trump loyalist Candace Owens, as its new chief executive.

The announcement of the appointment of the British conservative comes as the network returns to Apple’s App Store having being removed following the deadly US Capitol riot.

Mr Farmer succeeds interim head Mark Meckler, who is leaving the company. Parler did not provide a reason behind the executive change.

Having joined Parler in March as operating chief and previously having worked in financial services for a decade, Mr Farmer was also an active financial supporter and candidate for the UK’s Brexit Party.

In a statement, Mr Farmer said: “For the past two months I have worked with an incredible team of people, under the leadership of Mark Meckler, to bring Parler back online and return to Apple’s App Store after we had been unfairly maligned by the media and its allies in Big Tech and Congress.”

Both Apple and Google removed Parlier in January saying that the platform did not take adequate steps to remove harmful content.

Amazon also pulled the plug on Parler’s use of its cloud-computing services, briefly causing the company’s website to go offline. It was eventually restored in February through other tech providers.

In order to return to the App Store, Parler says that its rebuilt platform includes new community guidelines.

According to its website, people are encouraged to be themselves; all parleyers are equal; there is religious freedom; and the platform claims to be “viewpoint-neutral” to “foster a community of individuals who tolerate the expression of non-violent ideas”.

Apple’s strict guidelines for the App Store mean that even with these changes, certain content will be excluded from the iOS app that can be viewed on the Android and web-based versions of the platform.

The company also claims that algorithms will automatically detect violent content or incitement to violence.

There are no plans to return to the Google Play Store as Android users can access the app in other ways.

Mr Farmer, a former member of Oxford University’s Bullingdon Club and the son of former Conservative treasurer Lord Farmer, was at one point the chairman of Turning Point UK, an offshoot of rightwing group Turning Point USA.

The group was launched in December 2018 by Ms Owens, then communications director of the US parent organisation, and Charlie Kirk, its founder.

Ms Owens is known for her unapologetic pro-Trump views, conservative activism, controversial statements, and as the founder of the Blexit movement, which encourages Black people to abandon the Democratic Party.

Mr Farmer and Ms Owens married in 2019 at the Trump Winery in Charlottesville, Virginia, and welcomed their first child, a son, in January.

Parler is backed by investors including Republican donor Rebekah Mercer, daughter of hedge fund investor Robert Mercer, and conservative talk-show host Dan Bongino.

Before Mr Meckler became interim CEO, Parler was run by John Matze, a software engineer who was dismissed from the role in late January.

Mr Matze said at the time that he met resistance from the company’s board for his vision for the product and had pushed for “a more effective approach to content moderation”.

Mr Bongino countered that Mr Matze was responsible for “really bad decisions” that led to Parler being taken offline.

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