Kanye West is going to buy Parler, a conservative social network.


Kanye West is going to buy Parler, a conservative social network. Soon after having his Instagram and Twitter accounts briefly suspended following a series of remarks that were criticized as being anti-Semitic, Kanye West announced on Monday that he had acquired the libertarian-leaning social network, Parler.

“In a world where conservative beliefs are thought to be controversial, we have to make sure we have the right to openly express ourselves,” said artist and fashion designer West, now known as Ye, in a statement posted by Parlement Technologies, which operates Parler. The value of the transaction was not revealed by the corporation.

After the 2020 election, when many users were banned from major social media platforms for propagating hate speech and disinformation, Parler, which calls itself an “uncancelable free speech platform,” surged to prominence.

Shortly after the January 6 incident at the Capitol building in 2021, Apple, Google, and Amazon discontinued their backing for the site, citing its lack of content regulation as the reason. Many on the political right interpreted the deletions as evidence of Big Tech censorship and a growing “cancel culture.”

Parler operates on a very small scale in the realm of social media. According to data.ai, an analytics company, its user base has drastically decreased since its initial public exposure in early 2021. It has dropped from over 6 million in the first half of 2021 to fewer than 1 million in monthly active users. In contrast, Twitter has 238 million DAUs. Almost two billion people use Facebook.

West’s acquisition of Parler may have consequences for Twitter if Elon Musk follows through with his on-again, off-again $44 billion takeover of the platform, despite the fact that Parler now has a relatively modest user base. According to this, there may be another celebrity provocateur willing to swing even further to the right than Musk, who has mimicked Republican talking points by claiming he aims to throw back Twitter’s limitations on free speech.

West’s bipolar condition has contributed to his contentious public persona. He had backed then-candidate Donald Trump but opposed him in the 2020 election. West has tried his hand at a number of different businesses by teaming up with established names in the industry, often bringing his devoted fan base as new clients to otherwise staid and older businesses. Recently, some of these companies have discontinued relations with West as a result of his contentious public pronouncements.

After West showed up at Paris Fashion Week wearing a T-shirt that read “white lives matter,” Adidas announced that it was reevaluating its relationship with the artist. JPMorgan announced in September that it will no longer work with West and his Yeezy clothing line. West has also stated that he will no longer be working with Gap since the company stole his designs.

To illustrate his point, West posted a screenshot of a discussion he had with rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs on Instagram in early October, not long after the “white lives matter” T-shirt debacle, in which West implied that Combs was under Jewish influence. After having his Instagram account temporarily disabled for the post, he then tweeted that he would visit “death con 3 [sic] On Jewish people.”

After the issue, Musk publicly engaged with West. West tweeted a photo of himself with Mark Zuckerberg, referencing their connection, and asked how the Meta CEO could “take me off Instagram,” after the latter had banned him from the platform.

Then, Musk tweeted back to West. “Hello again, my old friend on Twitter! In his writing, he said.

In a subsequent tweet, the Tesla CEO and billionaire said he had spoken to West about his anti-Semitic comments. “I hope he took my concerns about his recent tweet to heart when we spoke today,” Musk added.

On October 17th, the day West’s acquisition of the site was disclosed, a confirmed Parler account was made in his name. It had fewer than 600 subscribers when it was published.