After being temporarily locked out of both his Instagram and Twitter accounts for comments the platforms deemed to be anti-Semitic, hip-hop billionaire and former President Donald Trump supporter Kanye West is acquiring Parler, a conservative social media platform.
Parler’s parent company announced the deal on Oct. 17, saying West had made “a groundbreaking move into the free speech media space and will never have to fear being removed from social media again.”
While the details of the terms of the Parler deal weren’t disclosed, Parler said it must still enter into a definitive agreement with West which it expects to close in the fourth quarter, CNN reported.
“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial, we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves,” West said in a release by Parler.
Parler, which was founded in 2018, has been called Parler a “haven” of hate by Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League’s CEO. The ADLis an international Jewish non-governmental organization based in the U.S.
Parler, which has raised about $56 million from investors to date, bills itself as a loosely moderated free-speech haven and has become popular with MAGA soldiers such as conservative politicians and media figures. At its peak, it had an estimated 2.9 million daily users, according to the market research firm Apptopia.
Lately, however, users have fallen off, and it now has a daily user count of about just 40,000, Apptopia told CNN. Compare this to Twitter, which has more than 237 million daily active users.
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Parler was removed from Apple and Google’s app stores following the Jan. 6 Capitol riots over posts that incited violence. Parler was later reinstated on both app stores after agreeing to more closely moderate posts, The Verge reported.
Parlement Technologies, Parler’s parent company, said the acquisition would help create “an uncontrollable ecosystem where all voices are welcome.”
The Verge reported that Parlement Technologies CEO George Farmer, husband of conservative activist and author Candace Owens, sent a message to the company’s staff. The message said, “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). He is not only a music & apparel titan but he, like Parler, has faced senseless and unnecessary censorship and cancellation by Big Tech. He shares Parler’s passion for free speech and independent thought.”
It continued, “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 a 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.”
Kanye West listens to a question from a reporter during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House with former President Donald Trump, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) / Parler CEO George Farmer, husband of conservative activist and author Candace Owens, screenshot from Fox Business video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO1kAQP6PgU