Trump reps reportedly told Parler he’d become an active member of the right-wing platform if it banned his critics, but it refused

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump.

  • Trump was reportedly prepared to join Parler, the social-media site, if it banned his critics.
  • Trump reps told Parler he could become an active user on Parler, per an excerpt from an upcoming Michael Wolff book.
  • Parler, which is popular with the far-right, balked at the suggestion of banning Trump’s critics, Wolff wrote.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump was prepared to become an active user of social-media site Parler if it banned his critics – but it resisted doing so, according to an excerpt from an upcoming Michael Wolff book.

In an excerpt from “Donald Trump’s January 6: The view from inside the Oval Office,” published in New York Magazine on Monday, Wolff wrote that Trump’s representatives approached Parler when Trump was in office, proposing that he join the platform once he left the White House.

Parler is a right-wing website that was popular with pro-Trump extremists around the time of the Capitol riots on January 6.

“They had floated a proposition that Trump, after he left office, become an active member of Parler, moving much of his social-media activity there from Twitter,” Wolff wrote.

Under their proposal, Trump would receive 40% of Parler’s gross revenues, and Parler “would ban anyone who spoke negatively about him,” Wolff wrote.

“Parler was balking only at this last condition,” he wrote.

The 40% figure has been previously reported.

Trump never became an active member of Parler. Twitter and Facebook blocked Trump after the deadly insurrection at the Capitol, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Insider has reached out to Parler for comment.

Trump considered joining Parler under the pseudonym “Person X,” its former CEO, John Matze, said in a court filing in January. Matze, ousted as CEO earlier this year, said that Amazon Web Services (AWS) knew about these plans while it hosted Parler. It terminated its contract with Parler – essentially knocking the site offline – to prevent Trump from having any social media presence, Matze claimed.

At the time, Amazon said that “suspending Parler had nothing to do with politics.” It suspended the site because Parler was “unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence,” it said.

Parler came back online in February with a new web host and new CEO.

Parler became a platform for pro-Trump extremists to gather before and during the January 6 riots, in part because of its lack of content moderation. Following the riots, Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores.

Read the original article on Business Insider

QAnon followers are already spreading Epstein-like conspiracy theories about John McAfee’s reported suicide

  1. John McAfee, with dark hair and a dark mustache and beard, stand amid reporters holding microphones.
    John McAfee answers questions from journalists in Guatemala City on December 4, 2012.

  • Antivirus software company founder John McAfee reportedly died by suicide in prison on Wednesday.
  • QAnon believers quickly began suggesting conspiracy theories about his death.
  • QAnon notably spread a similar theory when Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide in 2019.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Just minutes after the news broke that John McAfee reportedly died by suicide in a Spanish prison, QAnon conspiracy theorists baselessly suggested that the antivirus software pioneer died by other means.

Several top QAnon influencers on Telegram, some of whom have hundreds of thousands of followers on the far-right-favorite messaging platform, shared posts on Wednesday afternoon including the word “suicide” in quotes.

“Word on the street, only time will tell if this report was true or not,” an account with 61,000 subscribers shared on the app. Conspiracies alleging that McAfee had a “dead man’s switch,” or a device that activates when its owner dies, were also being shared online.

McAfee was imprisoned in Spain pending extradition on tax evasion charges before his death was reported on Wednesday.

A 2019 tweet from the antivirus software mogul’s verified Twitter account appeared to be emboldening some of these claims: “If I suicide myself, I didn’t,” the tweet said.

QAnon, a wide-ranging, far-right conspiracy theory based on the false notion that former President Donald Trump had attempted to take down a “deep state” cabal of human traffickers and pedophiles, notably spread a similar theory when disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide in 2019: “Epstein didn’t kill himself” eventually became a major online meme.

Hours after McAfee’s death, a similar phrase became a popular hashtag on Twitter.

Online discourse over the McAfee Associates software company founder also focused on an Instagram post from McAfee’s verified account on Wednesday afternoon – hours after his death was reported by Reuters – that showed the letter “Q.”

A post shared by John McAfee (@officialjohnmcafee)

It was not immediately clear who had control of McAfee’s Instagram account. Instagram told Insider it was “looking into” the situation.

McAfee was an American software engineer who founded the anti-virus software company McAfee Associates and ran it until he resigned in 1994.

In 2012, Belize police considered him a “person of interest” in the murder of Gregory Viant Faull, a neighbor of his while he lived on the island. McAfee denied he was involved in the death and fled Belize.

McAfee also ran for president in the US as a libertarian in 2016 and 2020.

In March 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York indicted McAfee on charges of fraud and money laundering for running what they said was a fraudulent cryptocurrency scheme. Federal prosecutors Tennessee later charged him with tax evasion.

QAnon leaders weighing in on McAfee’s death comes as no surprise, as the conspiracy theorists frequently repackage news stories to promote their own beliefs. When a rare winter storm hit Texas this year, QAnon influencers claimed that Bill Gates was behind the inclement weather; QAnon hotshots were infuriated Lil Nas X made headlines for grinding with the devil in a music video and selling shoes that reportedly contained a drop of human blood.

Connor Perrett contributed reporting.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Michael Flynn denies suggesting a Myanmar-style military coup should happen in the US

michael flynn
In this Feb. 11, 2014, file photo, then-Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.

  • Michael Flynn appeared to say there “should” be a Myanmar-style coup in the US.
  • The former national security adviser backtracked the statement on Monday.
  • In February, Myanmar’s military overthrew its elected government and arrested its leaders.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who worked briefly under former President Donald Trump, said Monday that there was “NO reason” for a military coup in the United States – one day after he appeared to suggest the opposite at a QAnon-themed convention over the weekend.

“Let me be VERY CLEAR – There is NO reason whatsoever for any coup in America, and I do not and have not at any time called for any action of that sort,” Flynn said in a post on Telegram, a social-media app that has been favored by far-right groups.

“Any reporting of any other belief by me is a boldface fabrication based on twisted reporting at a lively panel at a conference of Patriotic Americans who love this country, just as I do,” Flynn added to his 227,000 subscribers.

But Flynn’s comments Monday were at odds with those he made a day earlier at the For God & Country Patriot Roundup conference in Dallas. Attendees included Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, George Papadopoulos, and other prominent peddlers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which baselessly alleges the existence of a “deep state” cabal of pedophiles.

“I want to know why what happened in Myanmar can’t happen here,” an audience member asked Flynn, who is seen as something of a celebrity in the QAnon universe, during a panel.

“No reason, I mean, it should happen here. No reason. That’s right,” Flynn responded.

Video of the interaction circulated across social media immediately following Flynn’s remarks Sunday. In his Telegram post on Monday, Flynn claimed the “media” was “manipulating” his words.

In February, the Myanmar military overthrew the nation’s democratically elected government and arrested its leaders. More than 4,400 political prisoners have been arrested since the coup began and 840 have been killed by the military junta as it attempts to silence dissent, according to research from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a non-profit organization that has been tracking and uploading the data.

“I am no stranger to media manipulating my words and therefore let me repeat my response to a question asked at the conference: There is no reason it (a coup) should happen here (in America),” Flynn wrote Monday.

Flynn served as national security adviser under Trump for 22 days before resigning. In 2017, he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with a Russian ambassador, though he later retracted his plea and was pardoned by the former president last November.

As Insider’s Rachel E. Greenspan previously reported, Flynn has previously echoed the rhetoric of QAnon supporters, including last year the baseless theory that Dominion Voting Systems, which sells electronic voting hardware, rigged the 2020 election in President Joe Biden’s favor. There is no evidence to support that claim.

In July last year, he shared a video to Twitter espousing QAnon’s main slogan.

As CNN reported Monday, Flynn continued to repeat false claims about the 2020 election during last weekend’s convention, saying, “Trump won. He won the popular vote, and he won the Electoral College vote.” Trump won neither the popular vote nor the Electoral College vote.

Many followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which centered on the false narrative that Trump was fighting a fictional cabal of human traffickers, have refused to accept last year’s election results in the wake of Biden’s ascension to the presidency. QAnon followers and their theories were directly linked to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol that led to five deaths.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Improvised flamethrower modeled on an Elon Musk design among the weaponry found at US protests, documents focusing on the far-right reveal

Boring Company flamethrower
An attendee operates a Boring Co. flamethrower at the company’s photo booth during an unveiling event for the Boring Co. Hawthorne test tunnel in Hawthorne, California on December 18, 2018.

  • Federal, state, and local documents that focus primarily on the threat of the far-right have been made public.
  • An array of deadly makeshift weapons had been found at protests during the last year, the Guardian reported.
  • One of the weapons – a homemade flamethrower – is based on a model sold by Elon Musk’s The Boring Company.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Explosives, flamethrowers, and incendiary devices are some of the weapons discovered by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies outside rallies and at protests during 2020 and 2021, court documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.

The documents, provided to the Guardian by the transparency group Property of the People, offer descriptions of an array of makeshift weapons that had been confiscated or found at major political events.

The documents focused, primarily, on the threat of the far-right, the Guardian reported.

One such weapon was an improvised flamethrower that is said to have been taken from protesters in Erie, Pennsylvania last June, the Guardian said. The documents said that the homemade device appears to be modeled on a viral post of instructions on how to build a nearly exact copy of the “Not-A-Flamethrower” sold by Elon Musk’s The Boring Company.

Another makeshift flamethrower – a propane-power weed burner – was also confiscated from protesters in Portland, Oregon, according to the Guardian.

Read more: MAGA’s favorite killer: How a kid who gunned down 3 people became a hero to the far-right

An improvised explosive device (IED) that appeared to be “modified with nails” and made from scratch was discovered in Atlanta in June of last year, the documents said.

In early June, Black Lives Matter protests took place for 11 consecutive days in the city. Georgia was in a state of emergency and the National Guard had been activated to deal with looting and unrest until June 9, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Some of the IEDS, the documents explained, may have been used by businesses attempting to deter looters.

According to the documents seen by the Guardian, a “suspected metal pipe bomb with mechanical timer” was found outside the Republican National Committee building in Washington DC. It was discovered on January 5 – the night before the deadly insurrection. A similar device was found outside the Democratic National Committee building on the same night, the Guardian reported.

It is suspected that the same person, who is yet to be identified, planted both bombs, according to the FBI.

Molotov cocktails, powerful fireworks, and a plastic bottle with an “ignitable liquid” were also found in cities across the US, the documents said.

Concluding remarks referenced the “enduring threat” posed “by far-right, neo-Nazi and white supremacist world views” and explicitly call out Proud Boys and QAnon, the paper said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood receives standing ovation after making ‘QAnon’ gestures to crowd, report says

lin wood trump
Attorney Lin Wood, member of President Donald Trump’s legal team, gestures while speaking during a rally on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Alpharetta, Ga.

  • Lin Wood repeatedly drew a ‘Q’ symbol with his finger at a conference, Newsweek reported.
  • The lawyer also referred to ‘Q’ several times and falsely claimed that Trump is still president.
  • The ‘Q’ symbol is associated with the discredited, far-right conspiracy theory ‘QAnon.’
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Lin Wood, a far-right attorney and loyal ally to former President Donald Trump, sent an audience into a frenzy when he made ‘Q’ gestures during a convention speech on Friday, according to Newsweek.

The Georgia lawyer, who has gained notoriety for spreading election misinformation and calling for former Vice President Mike Pence’s execution, spoke at the conservative Health and Freedom Conference at Rhema Bible College in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He repeatedly drew a ‘Q’ symbol in their air with his right index finger, Newsweek reported.

The letter ‘Q’ has become synonymous with the far-right conspiracy movement ‘QAnon.’ Adherents of this discredited conspiracy theory believe that a mythical cabal of Satanic pedophiles, who are thought to be part of the “deep state,” work together to undermine former President Donald Trump.

Read more: Republicans should be worried about what Marjorie Taylor Greene will say next

During Wood’s speech, Newsweek reported, he referenced ‘Q’ several times.

“He [God] is going to rebirth you into the spirit world and create exactly the person that he intended you to be,” Wood said, according to the media outlet. “There’s your Q.”

The audience, Newsweek said, then began cheering and rose for a standing ovation while he continued to sound out and draw the letter.

“That is Q. What does that Q mean?” he reportedly continued. “Don’t you ever give up hope on this country.”

trump qanon
A Trump supporters holds up a large QAnon sign while waiting in line to see President Donald J. Trump at his rally on August 2, 2018/

Wood then proceeded to claim falsely that Trump is still in office. “He won the presidency and he is the person that we the people selected,” Wood said, according to Newsweek. “Donald J. Trump is still the president of the United States of America. He is your president.”

He also used the speech to target Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser, and to compare himself to the Hebrew King David, the media outlet said.

Wood, who is best known for painting a false narrative of a stolen election by filing failed lawsuits, is no stranger to controversy.

He was permanently banned from using Twitter after violating a suspension by inciting violence, BuzzFeed News reported.

The State Bar of Georgia is also looking into disciplining him for imploring his followers to target members of the institution, Insider’s Connor Perrett previously reported.

The Health and Freedom Conference dedicated to opposing the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of freedoms is due to conclude Saturday night with a mask burning ceremony.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A teenage girl testified against her father in court after her brother turned him in to the FBI over his role in the Capitol insurrection

capitol siege riot ladder
Rioters clash with police using big ladder trying to enter Capitol building through the front doors.

An alleged Three Percenter, who is accused of breaching the Capitol, will remain in jail awaiting his trial after his own family members gave officials information leading to his arrest, CNN reported Monday.

Guy Reffitt, a Texas husband and father, drove to Washington, DC, to attend the January 6 pro-Trump rally armed with an AR-15 rifle and pistol, threatened his family members, boasted about his participation, and bragged to fellow militia members that the siege was just “the beginning,” according to court documents.

Days after returning from his trip to the nation’s capital, Reffitt told his children he knew the FBI was “watching him.” On January 11 he told his 18-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter he had to “erase everything,” referring to video evidence of his attendance, legal records said.

Reffitt told his son, Jackson, that if he crossed the line and reported his father to the police, Reffitt would have no option but to “do what he had to do,” Jackson told investigators. When Jackson asked his father if he was threatening him, Reffitt reportedly responded by saying, “don’t put words in my mouth,” the affidavit said.

Reffitt also threatened his daughter, according to court documents. The girl was using her cell phone to talk with friends when Reffitt told her if she was recording him or put anything about him on social media she would have “crossed the line, betrayed the family” and he would “put a bullet through” her phone, according to the affidavit.

That same day, the two children – who disapproved of their father’s pro-Trump politics – told their mother, Nicole, that Reffitt had threatened them. When confronted by his wife, Reffitt reportedly doubled down on his warnings, saying if his children turned him in they would be traitors and “traitors get shot,” court documents said.

Reffitt’s wife and son told FBI officials all this and more when agents arrived at their Wylie home on January 16 to execute a search warrant and eventually arrest Reffitt, according to legal records.

Jackson has since left the family’s home and is now living in an undisclosed location, according to court documents. The son previously told CNN that he tipped the FBI off about his father.

But despite detailing Reffitt’s post-siege behavior to investigators, family members have continued to support the patriarch in court and in the media.

Nicole told CNN that Reffitt is a “loving husband and devoted father, loyal friend, and passionate patriot.” She insisted his statements were taken out of context and said nobody ever felt they were in real danger.

The couple’s minor daughter and her boyfriend, meanwhile testified on behalf of Reffitt in court Monday. Though she told the judge she thought Reffitt had tried to intimidate her and her brother, his daughter said she did not believe he would be dangerous if released, CNN reported.

Reffitt’s lawyer also downplayed his client’s threats while arguing for his pretrial release.

US Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui rejected Reffitt’s release request because of prosecutors’ claims that Reffitt had donned body armor, a helmet, a firearm, and plastic flex-cuffs on the Capitol grounds, according to The Washington Post.

Faruqui said Reffitt had used encrypted communications with fellow Three Percenters before and after the attack and had planned for violence.

Insider reached out to Reffitt’s defense attorney for comment.

The Three Percenters, a far-right, anti-government group for which Reffitt said he conducted vetting and intelligence, formed in 2008, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Its name originates from the myth that only 3% of colonists took up arms during the Revolutionary War. Members view themselves as “modern-day versions of those revolutionaries fighting against a tyrannical US government rather than the British.”

When Faruqui read his decision, it elicited a “wail” from Reffitt’s wife, daughter, and daughter’s boyfriend, CNN reported.

Despite their support of Reffitt, it was at least the third time members of his family had given details about his actions to authorities.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump’s fake inauguration on March 4 was QAnon’s latest vision that flopped. A new date is now being peddled to perpetuate the mind games.

qanon sign dc
Crowds gather outside the U.S. Capitol for the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • QAnon followers believed that March 4 would see former President Donald Trump reinstated as president.
  • It was just the latest date in a long line of bizarre goalposts that continually shift.
  • Followers of the conspiracy theory are looking forward to future dates that will herald epic changes.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

“Don’t be disappointed,” wrote one subscriber on a popular QAnon Telegram channel late Thursday night. “The race is not run yet and I have reason to believe March 20 is also possible.”

Another believer posted a similarly optimistic message. “We still have 16 days,” they wrote. “Lots can happen between now and then!”

With the passing of March 4, a highly-anticipated date for the conspiracy group, followers remain characteristically delusional.

With the uneventful passage of yet another supposedly momentous date, QAnon fans spent Friday morning urging followers to look forward and “keep the faith.”

QAnon’s March 4 failure

When “the Storm’ – the promise of mass arrests and executions on Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day -amounted to nothing, followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory scrambled for a new date to imagine Trump’s fictional swearing-in ceremony.

March 4, like several fruitless dates that preceded it, was born out of a convoluted political fantasy.

QAnon adherents borrowed from the obscure US-based sovereign-citizen movement to suggest that Trump would return to power on March 4, 2021. Sovereign citizens “believe that they get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit organization that tracks extremism. 

The conspiracy-theory movement will continue to invent new dates to look forward to, or else their years of obsessional beliefs will all have been for naught, say far-right experts.

“Reality doesn’t really matter,” Nick Backovic, a contributing editor at fact-checking website Logically, where he researches misinformation and disinformation, told Insider. “Whether QAnon can survive another great disappointment, there’s no question – it can.”

The March 4 theory is rooted in a bizarre belief that argues all laws after the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, are illegitimate. 

The 20th Amendment, which moved Inauguration Day from March 4 to January 20, is viewed by sovereign citizens as invalid. 

Therefore, proponents of this conspiracy theory insisted that Trump would restore a republic that has been out of action for over 150 years on the day when former presidents were sworn-in. 

Travis View, a conspiracy theory expert and host of the QAnon Anonymous podcast, previously told Insider that it’s based on a “blind faith” that Trump can “fix everything.”

A series of no-shows

Before March 4, the QAnon follower’s calendar was marked with a string of dates that were once hailed as moments of reckoning that didn’t happen.

In 2017, the first “Q drop” – the cryptic messages from the anonymous “Q” figure whose guidance runs the movement – claimed that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be arrested because of an unfounded allegation that she was involved in child sex trafficking. This, of course, never happened, but the QAnon conspiracy theory was born.

Devotees of the conspiracy theory then eagerly anticipated the Mueller report’s release in 2019, expecting its findings to lead to the arrest and possible execution of leading Democrats. Once again, this resulted in nothing more than disappointment for QAnon believers.

Then, in a bid to reconcile their belief that Trump would remain president, they believed January 6, which went on to be a deadly insurrection at the US Capitol, was a precursor to “The Storm” – a violent event that would result in the execution of child-abusive elites.

The goalpost was then moved to January 20, based on the claim that Trump would seize power prior to Biden taking his oath.

melania trump after polane inauguration
Outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump exit Air Force One at the Palm Beach International Airport on the way to Mar-a-Lago Club on January 20, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Trump left Washington, DC on the last day of his administration before Joe Biden was sworn-in as the 46th president of the United States.

But Trump was not inaugurated again on January 20 and instead left Washington to move down to his Florida home. In the hours after Biden’s inauguration, some QAnon believers were left confused and crestfallen. 

Mental gymnastics ensued, with some QAnon influencers arguing that Biden’s inauguration had happened in a Hollywood studio and was therefore invalid; others claimed that Trump sent signals during his final pre-inauguration address indicating that he’d remain in office. These influencers again promoted to their followers the idea that somehow, their theory was not yet over.

“QAnon is dealing with a very difficult cognitive dissonance situation,” Michael Barkun, professor emeritus of political science at Syracuse University, told Insider.

Naturally, some believers become fed up with failures

Several top QAnon voices disavowed the March 4 conspiracy theory in the days leading up to Thursday. These influencers have likely been attempting to keep their followers on-board with the conspiracy theory despite its myriad disappointments, Backovic told Insider. 

A Wednesday post on a QAnon Telegram channel with nearly 200,000 subscribers called the plan “BS,” though the same page told their followers that the “new Republic” would begin on March 4.

Another top conspiracy theorist told their 71,000 subscribers on Wednesday morning that a “Q drop”  contained a hint that the March 4 conspiracy theory was a false flag. “March 4 is a Trap,” the post said. 

Screen Shot 2021 01 20 at 12.35.48 PM
QAnon supporters in a Telegram channel express confusion after Biden’s inauguration.

Whenever QAnon’s prophecies are proven wrong, the movement does lose some support, Backovic said. 

In the days after President Biden’s inauguration, many QAnon believers did express a desire to leave the movement, fed up with the lies they’d been told. Even Ron Watkins, once QAnon’s top source for voter-fraud misinformation, told his 134,000 Telegram subscribers in the afternoon of January 20, “Now we need to keep our chins up and go back to our lives as best we are able.” 

QAnon influencers calling the March 4 conspiracy a “false flag” also helps place blame on others in case things go awry like they did on January 6. Finding a scapegoat is a common tactic for extremists, according to Backovic. 

After the Capitol insurrection, QAnon supporters and other pro-Trump protesters – and several Republicans in Congress – spread the false claim that antifa, the anti-fascist movement, staged the deadly coup attempt on the Capitol.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said when he testified before Congress on Tuesday, no evidence antifa was involved in the riot.

In addition to focusing on specific dates, QAnon has evolved and adapted to include other conspiracy theories and enter more conventional spaces. 

Last spring, the movement pivoted to focus on ending human trafficking, making “Save the Children” its new battle cry. QAnon leveraged on mainstream social media, including Instagram, where lifestyle influencers spread it. 

Then, last fall, QAnon extremists joined with other right-wing groups to protest Biden’s election win as part of the Stop the Steal movement, which caused the Capitol insurrection.

security DC
National Guard keep watch on the Capitol, Thursday, March 4, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

With nothing happening on March 4, believers look forward (again)

The latest disappointment has already resulted in new dates being introduced with increasingly desperate explanations.

Some QAnon influencers have suggested that March 20 is when Trump will seize control, misinterpreting the Presidential Transition Enhancement Act of 2019, which streamlines the presidential transition by providing certain services to the previous administration 60 days after the inauguration.

 The claim, first made on a popular QAnon Telegram channel, appeared to be making ground with supporters offline, too. A QAnon supporter interviewed by The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel said he believes Trump remains in command of the military and will be inaugurated on the 20th.

But core followers of the conspiracy theory are reluctant to throw all their weight behind a particular date.

In another Telegram message board for QAnon believers, one post encouraged people to remain open-minded about Q’s plan. “Dates for late March, April, May, and more dates in the fall have been tossed out there,” the post said. “While we can speculate and hope, no specific dates have been landed on… don’t get caught up in the dates, watch what’s happening.”

For those tempered by repeated disappointment, some are simply set on a resounding victory for Trump in 2024.

“Whether it’s some date in March or whether ultimately it will be a second Trump term after an election in 2024,” Barkun told Insider. “There will be some further set of explanations and a further set of dates.”

And the cycle continues.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Parler, a preferred social-media platform for the far-right, is back online with Mark Meckler as interim CEO

Parler is back online.

  • Parler has relaunched with a Tea Party Patriots co-founder at the top.
  • The social-media platform was taken offline by Amazon Web Services in January. 
  • The site, a favorite for the far-right, was found to be a planning hub for Capitol insurrectionists.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Parler, the preferred social media platform for the far-right, announced Monday that it was back online after it was dropped by an Amazon hosting service on January 11. 

The site became a haven for pro-Trump extremists ahead of, and during, the Capitol insurrection. Amazon Web Services (AWS) found that it “poses a very real risk to public safety.”

On Monday, the company announced that site was up and running with a Tea Party co-founder serving as interim CEO. Mark Meckler, an attorney, political activist, and founder of the Tea Party Patriots, replaced former CEO and co-founder John Matze, who was fired by the company’s board earlier this month. 

Read more: How Silicon Valley banished Donald Trump in 48 hours

In a statement Monday, Meckler said, “Parler was built to offer a social media platform that protects free speech and values privacy and civil discourse,” highlighting the platform’s focus on freedom of speech. “Parler is being run by an experienced team and is here to stay. We will thrive as the premier social media platform dedicated to free speech, privacy and civil dialogue,” the statement said. 

According to publicly available WHOIS data, the domain is registered with Epik, which also hosts Gab, another far-right social-media platform. 

A spokesperson did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

Parler is largely funded by Rebekah Mercer, a conservative megadonor whose family was among the most influential backers of then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. Dan Bongino, a conservative activist, has also said he’s a co-owner.

The company came under scrutiny after the Capitol insurrection as evidence emerged that the rioters had used Parler and other platforms to coordinate the attack.

Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores shortly after the insurrection, saying it had continued to allow content that threatened to escalate violence in violation of their policies. Amazon then removed Parler’s access to its web-hosting services, and other tech companies refused to do business with it, effectively taking the platform offline.

Parler will immediately bring back its current users during the first week of the relaunch and intends to allow new users to sign up the following week, the statement said. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Ex-Parler CEO said he didn’t want the platform to work with Trump for fear the president would ‘bully’ employees into doing what he wanted

Matze Trump Parler
Parler CEO John Matze and President Donald Trump, who Matze has said considered making an account on the controversial social-media platform.

  • John Matze, the former CEO of Parler, told Axios on HBO that he did not want to work with Trump.
  • He said we was concerned Trump would “bully” employees into doing what he wanted.
  • BuzzFeed reported Parler offered Trump a 40% stake in exchange for becoming his go-to social media.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

John Matze, the former CEO of Parler, said during an interview with Axios on HBO that he didn’t want the social media platform to work with Donald Trump.

“I didn’t like the idea of working with Trump because he might have bullied people inside the company to do what he wanted,” Matze told Axios during an interview that aired Sunday.

“But I was worried that if we didn’t sign the deal, he might have been vengeful and told his followers to leave Parler,” Matze added.

Parler, which has very limited content moderation, grew in popularity among Trump supporters and far-right figures following the election in November. However, Trump, who frequently complained about Twitter adding fact-check labels to his tweets, never made a verified Parler account.

Read more: How Google finally decided to remove Parler after months of flagging the app’s harmful content

Matze also told Axios he does not know why Trump has not joined the platform, despite being booted off other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook for violating their terms.

The interview, which took place Thursday, was released following a BuzzFeed News report on Friday that said Parler offered the Trump Organization 40% stake in exchange for Trump making the app his go-to social media platform.

The proposed deal, which was reportedly in talks last summer and after Trump lost the election, also would have required Trump to post on Parler four hours before reposting the content on other platforms, while also linking back to Parler, according to BuzzFeed.

Matze did not mention the specifics of the BuzzFeed report in the interview with Axios but said the negotiations over the summer did not get very far.

Trump’s business interests during his presidency raised questions over whether he was abusing the office of the presidency for personal financial gain.

BuzzFeed reported that the Parler deal could have violated anti-bribery laws because Parler would have given Trump something of value in exchange for control over his official statements, according to ethics experts.

Parler’s board fired Matze from his role as CEO last week, as the app currently remains offline. Following the insurrection at the US Capitol last month, Apple and Google removed the app from their app stores, and Amazon also stopped hosting the app, citing insufficient moderation of violent content.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Twitter suspended far-right website Gateway Pundit’s founder account

jim hoft gateway pundit
Jim Hoft, author at The Gateway Pundit, talks with Stephen K. Bannon while appearing on an episode of Brietbart News Daily on SiriusXM Patriot at Quicken Loans Arena on July 21, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.

  • Twitter has suspended the account of Gateway Pundit, a far-right website run by Jim Hoft.
  • Hoft used the account to peddle false claims, including that the 2020 election results were invalid.
  • Gateway Pundit joins the growing list of accounts suspended on Twitter for violating its policies.  
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Twitter on Saturday suspended the account for Gateway Pundit, a far-right website that for years has spread false information and conspiracy theories, including disinformation about the 2020 presidential election. 

In a statement to Forbes, a Twitter spokesperson said the account was suspended for “repeated violations” of its civic integrity policy, which prohibits users from tweeting “for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes.”

Twitter did not immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment.

Jim Hoft, the founder and editor-in-chief of Gateway Pundit, operated the account. 

The website had for years shared baseless conspiracy theories and false information, most recently echoing former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. 

When Democrat Joe Biden won the election, Trump for weeks refused to explicitly acknowledge his loss. In the hours after the race was called for Biden, Trump said the “election is far from over.” 

He then doubled down and sought to overturn the results in state and federal courts across the country. The Trump campaign and the president’s allies had filed, and lost, dozens of lawsuits in multiple battleground states contesting the results.

And allegations of voter fraud have been struck down and disproven numerous times since Trump and his lawyers presented their arguments. The Trump-appointed Attorney General Bill Barr, who’s repeatedly positioned himself as one of the president’s strongest defenders, conceded that neither the Justice Department nor the FBI found widespread evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Still, Trump continued to claim otherwise, posting frequently on his personal Twitter account – which has been permanently suspended – about widespread voter fraud and a “rigged” election. 

Gateway Pundit doubled down on those false claims. 

Just about a week ago, Hoft, using the Gateway Pundit Twitter account, pushed claims that some ballots cast for Biden were illegal, the Hill reported, referencing an archived version of the now-suspended account.

Bloomberg News reported that Hoft was one of the people pictured at Trump’s “Save America” rally on January 6, hours before violent rioters stormed the Capitol building. 

Almost immediately after the attack on the Capitol, social media platforms began suspending and permanently disabling accounts they say disseminate violent rhetoric.  

The most prominent suspension was the account of Trump himself. Sidney Powell, the lawyer Trump tasked with proving his baseless claims of election fraud, was among the people whose accounts were suspended

After Trump’s account was disabled, top conservatives began sharing their Parler accounts on the platform, encouraging their followers to follow them there. Parler became a flagship in alt-right communication, advertising itself as a platform for unregulated language and “free speech.”

Days after the presidential election, Parler download counts surged, signaling that the platform was at the time seeing an influx of new users. However, the app went offline in mid-January after several vendors, including Amazon, Apple, and Google, withdrew support for the site. 

Read the original article on Business Insider