Kanye West acquires Parler | Techy Kings


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Kanye West acquires Parler, the alternative social media platform favored by many conservatives.

Parler’s parent company announced the deal Monday morning, saying West had made “a groundbreaking move into the free media space and will never have to fear being removed from social media again.”

The acquisition comes after West, who has legally changed his name to Ye, had his account temporarily locked by Twitter this month over an anti-Semitic tweet.

Exact terms of the Parler deal were not disclosed, although Parler said it still needs to reach a definitive agreement with West and expects to close in the fourth quarter. Parler’s parent, Parlement Technologies, would remain involved by providing technical services and cloud support.

Buying Parler could make West the latest celebrity owner of a social media platform, following former President Donald Trump’s efforts to win over conservatives with Truth Social and Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s proposed acquisition of Twitter. It also highlights how a small group of wealthy men, some of whom were banned or suspended themselves for inflammatory comments, want to own social media platforms in an effort to strengthen what they call “free speech.”

“In a world where conservative views are considered controversial, we must ensure that we have the right to freely express ourselves,” West said in a press release by Parler.

As part of the announcement, Parler linked to West’s account on the platform, which appeared to have launched at the same time. As of early Monday, the account had roughly 500 followers.

For Ye, the deal comes during a particularly controversial period. West has made headlines in recent weeks for wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt in public and defending his use of the slogan — a phrase the Anti-Defamation League has linked to white supremacy groups — as “funny” to the Fox News host. Tucker Carlson. Following the shirt incident, clothing company Adidas said this month it was reviewing its partnership with West. In September, West also said he was abandoning a two-year partnership with clothing retailer Gap.

Speaking on CNN Monday, Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s CEO, called Parler a “sanctuary” of hate.

Founded in 2018, Parler saw rapid growth around the 2020 election. Billing itself as a loosely moderated haven for free speech, the app gained popularity among conservative politicians and media figures, peaking at an estimated 2.9 million daily users, according to market research firm Apptopia. But since then its fortunes have declined, with Parler’s estimated daily user count dropping to just 40,000, Apptopia told CNN on Monday. (Twitter, by comparison, has more than 237 million daily active users.)

In the weeks following the January 6 riots, Parler was removed from both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store due to what the companies said was a failure to adequately moderate violent rhetoric on the platform. Documents provided to the House committee investigating the Capitol riots have shown how the Secret Service was aware of posts on Parler that hinted at the possibility of violence around that day. Separately, Parler has written to Congress arguing that lawmakers’ interest in the app’s role in the riots has been intended to “scapegoat” the app.

Parler has since been reinstated to both app stores after making changes to its content moderation practices.

Parler has faced more competition in recent months as the burgeoning right-wing digital media ecosystem has expanded. Truth Social launched in February on Apple’s app store and was approved for Google’s app store on October 13. Truth Social saw a spike in downloads last week due to its appearance on the Google Play Store, Apptopia said, and before that had hovered at 144,000 daily active users.

Musk’s bid to buy Twitter, if the deal goes through, also has the potential to undo Parler and similar services. Musk has repeatedly called for eliminating permanent bans and rethinking Twitter’s approach to content moderation, which could once again make the much larger platform a home for some of the users who jumped to small services like Parler.

It could also effectively mean that Musk and Ye, who are said to be friends, are now competing with each other. After Ye’s anti-Semitic tweet sparked an outcry, Musk tweeted: “Spoken to you today and expressed my concern about his latest tweet, which I believe he took to heart.”

A week later, Ye’s agreement to buy Parler was announced.


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