The artist formerly known as Kanye West to buy Parler | WORLD
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The artist formerly known as Kanye West to buy Parler

The rapper’s proposed purchase of the conservative social media platform comes after charges of antisemitism

Ye Associated Press/Photo by Ashley Landis (file)

The artist formerly known as Kanye West to buy Parler

Parlement Technologies announced last week its intent to sell its conservative social media platform, Parler, to rapper and fashion designer Ye (formerly known as Kanye West). The proposed sale comes as Ye faces charges of antisemitism related to social media posts from earlier this month, which led Instagram and Twitter to suspend his accounts.

Parlement CEO George Farmer welcomed Ye with open arms, saying, “This deal will change the world, and change the way the world thinks about free speech.” Farmer, in an interview with Reuters, noted that Ye’s motivation for the deal was related to his recent social media suspensions. Parler’s price tag has not been released, but the sale is expected to close by the end of the year.

Parler launched in 2018 and became popular for its minimum content censorship of users. Farmer said Parler has 16.5 million registered users and, according to the research firm Apptopia, approximately 40,000 active users who log in daily.

MIT Technology Review succinctly describes the platform as “a virtually unmoderated version of Facebook and Twitter.” Today, many view Parler as a conservative alternative to mainstream social media platforms. But its connections to alleged right-wing activity caused Amazon to remove Parler’s web-hosting service following the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. Amazon took the action out of its concern that the Jan. 6 participants used Parler to coordinate their activities that day. Apple and Google followed Amazon’s lead and removed Parler from their app stores. Parler resumed service on Feb. 15, 2021, with a different host and returned to the Apple app store on May 15, 2021. Google Play finally reinstated the app last month.

Earlier this month, Instagram and Twitter suspended Ye’s accounts for posting what the social media platforms deemed as offensive and threatening antisemitic tweets.

On the evening of Oct. 8, Ye tweeted, “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.” He continued: “The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew also. You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.”

Twitter removed the tweets for violating community guidelines and quickly froze his account. Meta also suspended his account on Instagram after the rapper allegedly made antisemitic comments on other users’ posts. But less than 24 hours after Ye’s suspension and weeks before he took control of Twitter, Elon Musk tagged Ye in a tweet, saying, “Welcome back to Twitter, my friend!” But Musk, in a tweet Friday afternoon, said he had nothing to do with the restoration of Ye’s account,  noting that Twitter officials “did not consult with or inform me.”

Ye’s recent behavior has also cost him millions of dollars and status within the entertainment industry. Adidas and Balenciaga ended their brand deals with him. And the Creative Artists Agency dropped Ye as a client. Madame Tussaud’s also removed the rapper’s wax likeness from its museum in London. MRC Entertainment announced it would not release a recently finished documentary on the rapper, saying, “We cannot support any content that amplifies his platform.” Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel took to the Financial Times with an op-ed column, specifically telling Parler not to associate with Ye.

Despite all the fallout, Parler so far continues to stand behind its decision to sell to the controversial rapper, noting that Ye “is taking a bold stance against his recent censorship by Big Tech, using his far-reaching talents to further lead the fight to create a truly non-cancelable environment.”

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.


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