Kanye West to Buy Parler, Popular Conservative Twitter Competitor: NPR

Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, has agreed to buy social media site Parler, the company announced on Monday.

Evan Agostini/Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

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Evan Agostini/Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, has agreed to buy social media site Parler, the company announced on Monday.

Evan Agostini/Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, has reached a deal to buy Parler, a social media site popular with Trump loyalists, the company announced Monday.

The surprise move comes days after Twitter and Instagram locked Ye’s accounts over a series of anti-Semitic posts that were widely condemned.

Parler, which calls itself the “pioneering uncancellable free speech platform”, called the restrictions Twitter and Instagram have placed on its accounts censorship, arguing that Parler’s more passive approach to moderation of content ensures that all voices can be heard.

“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 statement.

In practice, however, Parler has been a hotbed of vaccine misinformation, bigotry, and right-wing conspiracies — content that generally doesn’t expressly violate Parler’s guidelines.

Parler is the social media site of Nashville-based parent company Parliament Technologies. He did not reveal the amount for which Ye agreed to buy the social media site, and no other terms of the deal were disclosed. But Parler officials said the deal should be done by the end of the year.

From Paris Fashion Week to Tucker Carlson, Ye’s latest controversies

Ye, whose music career and clothing line made him a billionaire, is a frequent and often erratic user of social media. Over the past few weeks, Ye has had some kind of controversy.

He landed in hot water earlier this month for wearing a t-short that read “White Lives Matter” to Paris Fashion Week.

In unaired excerpts from an interview he did with Tucker Carlson on Fox News that was recently posted by Vice, Ye espoused various anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. And he confused many when he claimed in the footage that “professional actors” had been placed in his home to “sexualize” his children.

Politically, Ye is a longtime supporter of former President Donald Trump, and he remains an ardent fan of the former president. A vocal critic of cancel culture, Ye frequently speaks out against what he sees as excessive surveillance of free speech in society.

This philosophy of everything is the hallmark of Parler, which has had a checkered history since its inception in 2018.

Deplatform, steering redesign and comeback

During the attack on the Capitol on January 6, hundreds of videos from the headquarters were posted on Parler, which before the violence had become a gathering place for far-right activists angry at Trump’s election defeat. .

Parler’s failure to remove violent and hateful posts in the wake of the Capitol riots led Amazon to split the social media site from its web hosting services, prompting a lengthy legal battle and the abrupt firing of its former CEO. John Matze.

Matze’s messy departure was the result of a confrontation between him and Rebekah Mercer, the Republican mega-donor and co-founder of Parler, over how the platform should handle inflammatory content, sources tell NPR. close to the case at the time.

Parler suffered an additional blow when Apple and Google removed the service from their app stores for violating their terms of service. Apple said it found posts that “encouraged violence, disparaged various ethnic groups, races, and religions” and “glorified Nazism.”

Since then, however, Parler has pledged to better monitor hate speech and violence on the site, leading Apple and Google to welcome the app back to their app stores.

Parler is competing in a crowded space, with several other conservative-friendly social media sites also trying to challenge Big Tech’s dominance. Among them are Rumble, a YouTube clone backed by billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel; Gettr, a Twitter-like service founded by a former Trump adviser; and TruthSocial, another Twitter competitor founded by former President Trump.

Ye’s ongoing purchase of Parler also comes as Twitter grapples with its own ownership saga. Elon Musk and Twitter are in heated negotiations and legal battles over his impending purchase of the platform, and the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX has pledged, among many other proposals, to relax content moderation rules. from Twitter.

In a statement announcing the planned acquisition of Ye, Parler CEO George Farmer predicted the deal would have a huge impact on online discourse.

“Ye is taking a revolutionary step into the free speech media space and will never have to worry about being taken off social media again,” Farmer said. “Once again, Ye proves he is one step ahead of the legacy media narrative.”

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