Kanye West is acquiring Parler, a social media alternative platform popular with conservatives.
The parent company of Parler announced the acquisition on Monday morning, stating that West was making “a groundbreaking move into the free speech media space and will never have to fear being removed from social media again.”
The purchase comes following West, who legally changed his identity to Ye, was able to have his account temporarily blocked by Twitter in the month of March due to an anti-Semitic tweet.
The exact terms of the Parler deal were not disclosed, but Parler stated that it would sign a definitive contract with West and anticipates closing in the fourth quarter of the year. Parler’s parent company, Parlement Technologies, would remain active by offering technical services and cloud-based support.
Kanye West’s account on Twitter has been blocked because of an anti-Semitic tweet.
The purchase of Parler might make West the most famous star owner of a social media platform following former president Donald Trump’s attempt to win the hearts of conservatives through Truth Social and Tesla CEO Elon Musk‘s proposal to acquire Twitter. It also reveals how some wealthy men, many of whom were detained or suspended from their jobs for violent comments, are looking to control social media platforms in an attempt to increase what they refer to as “free speech.”
“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves,” West stated in a press release issued by Parler.
In the wake of the news announcement, Parler joined West’s profile on the platform that appears to have launched concurrently. In the early morning of Monday, the account had about 500 followers.
For Ye, the deal is coming at a time when the political climate is particularly tense. West has garnered attention recently because of his “White Lives Matter” T-shirt in public and for defending that he was wearing the “White Lives Matter” slogan, which the Anti-Defamation League has linked to groups that promote white supremacy to be “funny” to Fox News host Tucker Carlson. After the shirt controversy and the company that makes it, Adidas in the month of September announced that it would be reviewing its collaboration with West. Then, in September, West announced that he had ended a two-year relationship with clothing retailer Gap.
On CNN Monday morning, Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s CEO, described Parler as a “haven” of hate.
Parler was established in the year 2018 and experienced rapid growth during the run-up to the 2020 election. It claimed to be an open-source, free-speech haven, and the app gained traction with conservative media and politicians with an estimated 2.9 million users per day, according to industry research company Apptopia. However, since that time, its popularity has diminished, with the estimated daily user count dropping to around 40, Apptopia told CNN on Monday. (Twitter, in contrast, boasts over 237 million active daily users.)
In the days following January, Six riots, Parler was taken off as well as the Apple App Store and Google Play Store because of what they claimed was a lack of ability to reduce violent content within the platform. Documents submitted to the House committee that is investigating the Capitol riots show that Parler’s Secret Service was aware of postings on Parler, which suggested the possibility of violence during the riots on that day. Additionally, Parler has written to Congress saying that the lawmakers’ interest in the app’s involvement in the riots is meant in order to “scapegoat” the app.
Parler is now restored to both stores after making modifications to its practices for content moderation.
Parler has been battling more in recent months as the growing right-wing digital media industry has grown. Truth Social launched in February in the Apple app store and was accepted by the Google Play Store on Oct 13. Truth Social saw a spike in downloads in the last week because of its debut in the Google Play Store, Apptopia stated, and prior to that was hovering around 144,000 active users per day.
Musk’s decision to purchase Twitter in the event that the deal is approved is also likely to change the way people use Parler and other similar services. Musk has repeatedly demanded the removal of permanent bans and reconsidering the approach of Twitter’s content moderation. This could again provide the far more extensive platform an ideal home for some users who have migrated to smaller platforms like Parler.
It could also suggest it could mean that Musk and Ye, whom they claim to be good friends and are now competing against one another. After Ye’s racist tweet caused protests, Musk tweeted: “Talked to ye today & expressed my concerns about his recent tweet, which I think he took to heart.”
A week later, the deal of Ye to purchase Parler was revealed.