Hip hop superstar Kanye West, who now goes by the name Ye, is looking to buy right-wing social media platform Parler after he was booted from Twitter and Instagram.
Parler was created in 2018 as a so-called ‘free speech’ alternative to large social platforms like Instagram or Twitter but with supposedly lax moderation policies designed to cater to an alt-right audience.
In a statement accompanying this week’s announcement, Ye said platforms like Parler were necessary “in a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial”.
Ye’s concept of ‘controversial’ opinions apparently include the kind of blatant antisemitism for which he was recently banned from both Twitter and Instagram.
Responding to criticism for his choice to wear a shirt that had ‘White Lives Matter’ printed on it to Paris Fashion Week last month, Ye posted on Instagram to say rapper Diddy was being controlled by Jewish people.
Meta, which owns Instagram, quickly banned Ye so he returned to Twitter where Elon Musk, who is still slated to buy Twitter, welcomed him with open arms – at least until Ye said he was "going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE” (his capitals) and had his account banned once again.
Meta, which owns Instagram, quickly banned Ye so he returned to Twitter where Elon Musk, who is still slated to buy Twitter, welcomed him with open arms.
That was at least until Ye said he was "going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE” (his capitals) -- a reference to the US Armed Forces DEFCON alert system.
DEFCON 3 describes an "increase in force readiness above that required for normal readiness".
Ye was subsequently banned from Twitter.
A week later, Ye’s face adorned a press release from Parler's parent company Parlement Technologies, saying it had “entered into an agreement in principle to sell Parler”.
CEO of Parlement George Farmer, who is the husband of right-wing pundit Candace Owens, said Ye was "making a groundbreaking move into the free speech media space and will never have to fear being removed from social media again”.
In the context of Ye’s unashamed hate speech, Parler is tacitly welcoming people who share his antisemitic sentiment, or at least would like the ability to spread hate speech or misinformation online with relative impunity.
Parler and other openly right-leaning platforms like Gab and Rumble began gaining attention during the Trump presidency when the likes of Twitter and Facebook pushed back on the former US President and his supporter’s attempts to undermine the country’s democratic process.
The app was banned from the Android and Apple app stores in the wake of the January 6 Capitol Riots when Trump was banned from mainstream social platforms leading to him making his own, called Truth Social.
Alternative social media like Parler and Truth Social lean heavily on the notion that they offer a home to ‘cancel culture’ refugees who have fled or been kicked off mainstream social platforms.
Of course, despite claiming to be a bastion of free speech, Parler still has its own set of moderation rules which in some ways are stricter than those of Twitter.
For example, Parler disallows usernames that comprise words or phrases that might constitute a description “of adult nudity or sex”.
Parler’s community guidelines also reserve the right to remove “blatantly defamatory statements” about the platform and it is specifically restrictive about people posting spam or using bots because the platform’s “influencers and creators … deserve unfettered enjoyment of the effects of their hard work”.
According to a source who spoke with the Verge, Parlement had been shopping around for buyers of Parler in recent weeks at a “wildly inflated” price.
That source reportedly said Parler only has around 50,000 daily active users. Twitter, for comparison, has an estimated 229 million daily active users.