Technology

Kanye West is buying ‘free speech platform’ Parler

Kanye West, the musician now legally known as Ye, is buying Parler, a social media platform that styles itself as a “free speech” alternative to Twitter. The acquisition was announced by Parler in a press release, which said that it has entered into an agreement in principle with Ye that’s expected to close later this year.

“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves,” said Ye in a press statement.

Parlement Technologies, Parler’s parent company, said the acquisition would help create “an uncancelable ecosystem where all voices are welcome.” In a message sent this morning to the “Parler Family,” (included in full below), Parlement Technologies CEO George Farmer said, “The current Parler staff you’ve come to know —many of whom you’ve interacted with— will still be working on the app, and the platform will continue to utilize Dynascale’s cloud services.”

In a press statement, Farmer said the deal would “change the world, and change the way the world thinks about free speech.” Notably, Farmer is the husband of conservative influencer and commentator for right-wing outlets Candace Owens, who has visibly become close to Ye recently, with TMZ reporting the two are “in constant talks” and saying his friends believe she’s influencing him.

Said Farmer, “Ye is making a groundbreaking move into the free speech media space and will never have to fear being removed from social media again. Once again, Ye proves that he is one step ahead of the legacy media narrative. Parlement will be honored to help him achieve his goals.”

Parler’s emphasis on free speech has made it a lightning rod for right-wing conspiracy theorists. The platform was accused of helping rioters plan and coordinate the storming of the Capitol building that took place on January 6th, 2021. Following the riots, both Google and Apple removed Parler from their respective app stores. Apple cited the “threats of violence and illegal activity” on Parler and said that the social media network had “not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety.” That same month, Amazon also kicked Parler off its web hosting service.

Parler was later reinstated on both app stores after agreeing to more closely moderate posts. Its website appeared back online in February 2021. Parlement Technologies’ press release notes that it will continue to provide “ongoing technical support” and offer cloud services via its “private cloud and data center infrastructure” after the acquisition. The company has previously suggested these cloud services are “uncancelable.”

Parler is just one of the social media networks that have sprung up with promises of looser moderation policies compared to more mainstream platforms. Most 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’d like Twitter to relax its moderation policies under his stewardship and possibly reinstate Trump’s account. The Tesla CEO said he spoke to Ye after his antisemitic post to express his concerns. After trying to back out of his deal to buy Twitter, Musk recently said that he’s willing to proceed with the purchase, though the process is still ongoing.

News of the acquisition comes a little over a week after Ye was locked out of his Instagram account and then Twitter account (the latter for posting an antisemitic tweet). “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE,” Ye wrote in a tweet on October 8th. “The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew.”

In recent years, Ye has expressed increasing support for right-wing causes, but his statements also frequently tip over into controversy and conspiracy. Earlier this month, he was criticized for, along with Owens, wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan “White Lives Matter” at Paris Fashion Week and for comments made during a Fox News interview with Tucker Carlson. Unaired segments of the interview showed Ye making antisemitic statements and espousing various conspiracy theories, including stating that fake children are being used to manipulate his own offspring.

Ye was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016 and has since spoken openly about his problems with his mental health. In 2019, he said that during manic episodes he becomes “hyper-paranoid about everything, everyone.” Said Ye, “This is my experience, other people have different experiences. Everyone now is an actor. Everything’s a conspiracy.”

George Farmer, CEO, Parler:

Dear Parler Family,

Today is one of the most exciting days in the history of Parler (and we are no strangers to excitement). Parlement Technologies has entered into an agreement in principle to sell Parler to Ye (formerly known as Kanye West). Ye is not only a music & apparel titan but he, like Parler, has faced senseless and unnecessary censorship and cancelation by Big Tech. He shares Parler’s passion for free speech and independent thought.

I am sure you have questions, and I’d like to answer a few right here. Firstly, Ye’s acquiring of Parler will strengthen our ability to create an uncancelable ecosystem. No one should have to self-censor out of uncertainty about which legal speech will get him or her banned. No individual or business should worry about being completely deplatformed, as Parler was, merely for the expression of opposing viewpoints. Groupthink is, and always has been, more dangerous than independent thinking.

The current Parler staff you’ve come to know —many of whom you’ve interacted with— will still be working on the app, and the platform will continue to utilize Dynascale’s cloud services.

Parler will remain a place where everyone can think, listen, and speak freely. We will continue the fight against censorship, cancel culture, and authoritarianism.

While I cannot provide all the details today, I have complete confidence that Parler, as both a platform and a community, will experience the limitless growth it deserves.

Thank you for being a Parler user. Do stay tuned to @parler and @parlernews for all the latest information. And don’t forget to follow @kanye.