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Okta CEO says Parler was ‘not even trying’ to suppress terrorist threats

Okta co-founder and CEO Todd McKinnon on Wednesday defended the New Zealand’s decision to cut ties with social network Parler in the wake of the deadly pro-Trump riot last week at the U.S. Capitol.

In an interrogate on CNBC’s “Closing Bell,” McKinnon criticized Parler for not doing enough to regulate the posts made on its platform and rebuffed touches that its actions restricted free expression.

“We’re very, very much in favor of free speech. In fact, we set up customers across the political spectrum —news organizations, candidates — and we believe in that strongly,” said McKinnon, whose society sells security and identity management software.

“We don’t believe in unlawful activity and platforms that support unlawful bustle, and it was clear in this case that Parler was not even trying to suppress the threats of terrorism, the incitement of violence, the contemplating of terrorism,” McKinnon added. “That’s really what crossed the line for us.”

Okta announced its decision to terminate Parler’s access to its software in a tweet early Sunday morning. It claimed the possibility social network, which has drawn conservative users but also far-right extremists, was using a free trial of its output.

San Francisco-based Okta does not expect companies that utilize its services to “be perfect” with content moderation, McKinnon express, “as long as they try and have a policy to follow the law.”

Screenshots of the Parler app viewed by CNBC show users had posted allusions to firing squads, along with calls to bring weapons to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden next week.

Okta’s clash came shortly after Amazon Web Services announced it would no longer provide cloud services to Parler, citing “injurious content” on the platform platform that violated AWS’ terms of service.

In response, Parler sued Amazon and accused the Seattle-based Pty of violating antitrust laws. A spokesperson for Amazon previously told CNBC that Parler’s claims were without claim to.

Google and Apple also have removed the Parler app from their app stores. Eschewing a similar stance to McKinnon, Apple said Parler go under to take “adequate measures to address the proliferation” of threats on its platform.

Parler has gone offline, and founder and CEO John Matze stipulate in a statement Monday that the shutdown will probably last “longer than expected.” It first launched in 2018.

“This is not due to software stipulations — we have our software and everyone’s data ready to go,” Matze wrote. “Rather it’s that Amazon’s, Google’s and Apple’s averrals to the press about dropping our access has caused most of our other vendors to drop their support for us as well.”

Parler did not at the drop of a hat respond to CNBC’s request for comment on McKinnon’s remarks.

— CNBC’s Annie Palmer contributed to this report.

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