Artist News Deals Digital

Kanye West buys Parler after his social media accounts were locked

By | Published on Tuesday 18 October 2022

Kanye West

Kanye West has agreed to buy Parler, the social media service that promotes itself as the “premiere global free speech platform”, though critics see it more as the place online where people can share outrageous, usually right-wing opinions without the risk of being filtered or banned.

As you may have noticed, West has been spouting ever increasing amounts of nonsense of late. Some of it is offensive, some of it is outrageous, and most of it is wrong. In fact, so prolific has West’s nonsense spouting been in recent weeks, we’ve stopped paying attention to him entirely.

However, the machines at the big social media platforms that monitor for content that is offensive, abusive and/or misleading have carried on paying attention, resulting in the rapper’s Twitter and Instagram accounts being locked. Meanwhile, the full and somewhat controversial interview he did with the Drink Champs podcast was removed from YouTube.

Which is why West is suddenly a big fan of Parler, the social media service that usually allows through the kinds of racist and anti-semitic statements – and misinformation and conspiracy theories – that tend to get filtered or blocked on the mainstream platforms.

Originally founded in 2018, Parler saw a big spike in popularity in 2020, especially among Trump supporters in the US who were angry about the filtering happening on Twitter and Facebook. Though – like other companies that have set up social media services with minimal filtering – Parler’s avid userbase is much more niche when compared to the social media giants.

Critics also reckon that, on the quiet, Parler does quite a lot of content filtering. Partly to understandably stop the distribution of outright unlawful content. But, some critics allege, also to prioritise the kind of right-wing opinions that are popular with its core userbase, so that – in the words of one Wired article – it “prioritises conservative speech rather than free speech”.

Either way, Parler is owned by a US-based company called Parlement Technologies which yesterday said that it had entered into “an agreement in principle” to sell the “world’s pioneering uncancellable free speech platform” to Ye, which is, of course, how we are meant to refer to West these days.

“Ye has become the richest black man in history through music and apparel”, the Parlement Technologies statement continued, “and is taking a bold stance against his recent censorship from big tech, using his far-reaching talents to further lead the fight to create a truly non-cancelable environment”.

The firm’s CEO George Farmer added: “This deal will change the world, and change the way the world thinks about free speech. Ye is making a groundbreaking move into the free speech media space and will never have to fear being removed from social media again. Once again, Ye proves that he is one step ahead of the legacy media narrative. Parlement will be honoured to help him achieve his goals”.

Meanwhile, West himself stated: “In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves”.

In terms of deal specifics, the statement concluded: “Under the terms of their agreement in principle, the parties intend to enter into a definitive purchase agreement and expect to close during the fourth quarter of 2022. The terms of the proposed transaction would include ongoing technical support from Parlement and the use of private cloud services via Parlement’s private cloud and data centre infrastructure”.

Given that many of West’s business partnerships end acrimoniously, it will be interesting to see how important providing a platform for free speech really is if and when both sides start using that platform to diss each other in public.