Kanye West, the musician now known as Ye, buys Parler, a social media platform that markets itself as an alternative to Twitter. The acquisition was announced by Parler in a press releasewho said it has entered into an agreement in principle with Ye that is expected to be concluded later this year.
“In a world where conservative opinions are considered controversial, we must ensure that we have the right to express ourselves freely,” Ye said in a press statement.
Parler’s parent company, Parliament Technologies, said the acquisition would help create “a non-cancellable ecosystem where all voices are welcome.”
Parler was removed from Apple and Google app stores after the Capitol riots
Parler’s emphasis on free speech has made it a lightning rod for ring wing conspiracy theorists. The platform was accused of helping rioters plan and coordinate the storming of the Capitol that took place on January 6, 2021. Following the riots, both Google and Apple removed Parler from their respective app stores. Apple cited the “threat of violence and illegal activity” on Parler and said the social media network had “failed to take adequate steps to address the spread of these threats to people’s safety.” That same month, Amazon also kicked Parler off its web hosting service.
Parler was later reinstated in both app stores after agreeing to more moderate messaging. The website reappeared online in February 2021. Parliament Technologies’ press release states that after the acquisition, it will continue to offer “ongoing technical support” and cloud services through its “private cloud and data center infrastructure”. The company has previously suggested that these cloud services are “non-cancellable”.
In a press statement, Parliament Technologies CEO George Farmer said the deal would “change the world, and the way the world thinks about free speech.”
Said Farmer: “You’re taking a groundbreaking step in the free speech media space and you’ll never have to fear being taken off social media again. Ye proves once again that he is one step ahead of traditional media narrative. Parliament will be honored to help him achieve his goals.”
Parler is just one of the social media networks that have emerged with promises of a looser moderation policy compared to more mainstream platforms. Notably, in February, former President Donald Trump’s media company launched Truth Social after Trump was banned from Twitter following the Capitol riots.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk has suggested that he would like Twitter to relax its moderation policy under his leadership and possibly reinstate Trump’s account. Tesla CEO said he spoke to Ye after his anti-Semitic post to express his concerns. After trying to pull out of his deal to buy Twitter, Musk recently said he’s willing to go ahead with the purchase, though the process is still underway.
The news of the takeover comes just over a week after Ye was locked out of his… Instagram account and then Twitter account (the latter for posting an anti-Semitic tweet). “I’m a little sleepy tonight, but when I wake up I’m going to die with 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” Ye wrote in a tweet on Oct. 8. “The funny thing is that I can’t actually be anti-Semitic because black people are actually Jewish.”
In recent years, Ye has increasingly expressed support for right-wing causes, but his statements often turn into controversy and conspiracy. Earlier this month, he was criticized for wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “White Lives Matter” during Paris Fashion Week and for comments made during a Fox News interview with Tucker Carlson. Unaired segments of the interview showed Ye made anti-Semitic statements and embraced various conspiracy theories, including the claim that fake children are used to manipulate his own offspring.
Ye was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016 and has spoken openly about his mental health issues ever since. In 2019During manic episodes, he said he “gets hyperparanoid about everything, everyone.” Said Ye: “This is my experience, other people have different experiences. Everyone is now an actor. Everything is a conspiracy.”