Parler wanted Donald Trump, and badly.
The team behind the social media platform known for its laissez-faire approach to content moderation and, more recently, hosting issues, reportedly offered Trump a 40 percent ownership stake in the company. In exchange, the now-former president would’ve needed to primarily post to that site — giving other social media platforms, some of which (at least for now) banned him, short shrift.
So reports BuzzFeed News, which writes that it remains unconfirmed whether or not Trump was directly involved in the talks. What discussion there was reportedly took place over the summer, as well as after Trump’s loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 U.S. election.
We reached out to Parler in an effort to verify BuzzFeed News’ reporting, and to determine if any talks between Donald Trump and Parler are ongoing. We received no immediate response.
“[In] negotiations with the Trump Organization, Parler offered a 40% stake in the company, according to a December document seen by BuzzFeed News and two people with direct knowledge of the proposed deal,” reports BuzzFeed News. “Upon completion of that deal, half of that stake would have been given immediately to the Trump Organization, while the other half would have been doled out in tranches over the 24-month period of the agreement.”
Such a move by Trump would have no doubt proved a valuable shot in the arm for Parler, which in the past had struggled to gain new users. Notably, those fortunes were at least temporarily reversed as threats to boot the app from Apple’s App Store and falsely perceived anti-conservative tech bias drove a surge in downloads.
In the end, however, it was all for naught. BuzzFeed News notes that someone in the White House counsel’s office found that the deal would be, ahem, ethically problematic. The events at the Capitol on Jan. 6 apparently didn’t help, either.
But with Trump now out of the White House, it remains to be seen if those pesky ethics will be in his way for much longer.