PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. - A Prince William County sheriff’s deputy is out of a job after he was accused of posting threatening messages promoting violence against politicians on the social media site Parler.
Parler has become a popular destination for those wishing to post hate speech because it doesn’t censor.
Deputy Aaron Hoffman says that while he does have a Parler account, he did not post the message, and that his account was hacked.
The post reads, in part:
"Find the homes of every governor, mayor, attorney general, liberal judge, senator, congressman, and every major media/social media ceo… find them remove them from their sanctuary. Bring the nightmare to where they lay their heads at night and kiss their loved ones."
While shocking, these sentiments are not uncommon on Parler. has sparked a larger conversation about the new site gaining popularity.
Parler was founded two years ago – but its popularity blew up after the election.
The site gained more than 4 million users in one week – many of them conservatives who fled Twitter or Facebook when they began monitoring content.
It’s also popular with extremists who post hateful, racist, and anti-Semitic messages.
The site says it will not censor posts – even those that can be categorized as hate speech – claiming its basis is to promote free speech.
Anti-Defamation League Vice President Oren Segal spoke with FOX 5 saying that, as a private company, there’s a fine line of what Parler should allow and label as free speech.
"When you have anyone incite violence on any side – that’s a huge concern and that’s when sometimes free speech sometimes no longer is protected," he said.
A tech expert who talked to FOX 5 argues that the site is monitoring some content – just not the kind you’d expect. He expects the site will need to monitor posts in the future.
"One of the big ones is that they started removing people that they thought were trolling the site who are just joining to make fun of its users or to cause trouble," TechDirt writer and editor Mike Masnick said.
Masnick elaborated, saying "the reality is that almost any site on the internet that has user generated content sooner or later realizes that they have to do some tending to the garden effectively to keep the site useable."
FOX 5 reached out to Parler directly for comment on the criticism, but they have not yet replied.