The rapper formerly known as Kanye West is offering to buy the right-wing social network Parler shortly after he was banned from Twitter and Instagram for anti-Semitic posts.
Acquiring Parler would give West, legally known as Ye, control of a social media platform and a new outlet for his unguarded opinions.
But even among the new breed of largely right-wing social apps that claim to support free speech by having looser rules and moderation, Parler’s user base is tiny.
Parliament Technologies, which owns the platform, and West said the acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter, but details such as pricing were not disclosed. Parliament Technologies said the agreement includes the use of private cloud services through Parliament’s private cloud and data center infrastructure.
Ye was blocked from posting on Twitter and Instagram a week ago due to anti-Semitic posts that social media said violated their policies. In a post on Twitter, Ye said he would soon go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” according to internet records, making an apparent reference to the scale of US defense readiness known as DEFCON. .
READ MORE: Trump begins to embrace and openly amplify the false QAnon conspiracy theory
Ye is no stranger to controversy, once suggesting slavery was a choice and calling the COVID-19 vaccine “the mark of the beast.” Earlier this month he was criticized for wearing a ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirt in his collection at Paris Fashion Week.
“In a world where conservative views are considered controversial, we must ensure that we have the right to express ourselves freely,” Ye said in a prepared statement.
The acquisition could also breathe new life into Parler, which has struggled against competition from other pro-conservative platforms like Truth Social, launched by former President Donald Trump. Parler had a relatively low average of 983,000 monthly active users for the first half of this year, according to Data.ai, which tracks mobile app usage.
Truth Social had 2.4 million monthly users during the same period, despite launching in February and only on Apple devices, according to Data.ai. The market research firm said another right-wing platform, Gettr, launched in July 2021, leads both Parler and Truth Social with around 3.8 million monthly active users.
None of them come close to Twitter, which reported that it had a daily average of around 237.8 million active users in its most recent quarter. Many right-wing platforms grew out of opposition to content moderation restrictions on mainstream services such as Twitter and Facebook, although billionaire Elon Musk has pledged to roll back some of Twitter’s speech restrictions. he follows through on a $44 billion takeover pledge of the San Francisco company later this month.
Parler, which launched in August 2018, only started gaining momentum in 2020. But it was taken offline after the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. A month after the attack, Parler announced a relaunch. It returned to Google Play last month.
“This agreement will change the world and change the way the world thinks about free speech,” Parliament Technologies CEO George Farmer said in a prepared statement.