Controversial American rapper Kanye West, who legal challenged his name to Ye in 2021 and also divorced the reality star Kim Kardashian, is to purchase the social media app Parler.

Parler is the Twitter-like social media app popular with the far right in the US. Parent company (Parlement Technologies) announced that it has entered into an agreement in principle to sell Parler to Ye (formerly known as Kanye West).

Parler was founded in 2018 and billed itself as a “free speech-driven” social media platform, but it quickly became a haven for many on the far right in the US who objected to the rules governing misinformation and falsehood on Facebook and Twitter.

Ye (formerly known as Kayne West). Image credit Parlement Technologies

Parler shutdown

Indeed, Parler achieved fame for being mostly used by supporters of former US President Donald Trump and the right wing. The platform was also reportedly awash with QAnon conspiracy content.

QAnon is a far-right conspiracy that alleges there is a “deep state” campaign against Donald Trump and his supporters. Essentially QAnon touts there is a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles who rule the world, and who control politicians, the media, and Hollywood.

Parler touts itself as an “uncancelable free speech platform”, but it has previously been taken offline.

After the storming of the US Capitol building on Wednesday 6 January 2021 by supporters of Donald Trump, that resulted in the deaths of five people, including one police officer who was beaten to death, Google and Apple removed Parler from their respective App Stores after it emerged that many rioters used the app.

Soon after on 10 January 2021 Parler disappeared online, when Amazon Web Services (AWS) stopped hosting it.

At that time Parler launched a lawsuit against AWS in response, and the platform did make a brief return online with the help of a Russian-owned technology company. But behind the scenes Parler founder and CEO John Matze was fired by the app’s board of directors.

Parler eventually returned online in mid February 2021 by using CloudRoute LLC as its new host and replacing Amazon with open-source software platform Ceph.

Despite its billing as a “free speech” social network, the site was forced to add content moderation in order for it to be restored to the Apple App Store in May 2021.

It only returned to the Google Play Store in September 2022.

Parler acquisition

Now Parler is being acquired by Kayne West (Ye), who Parler said has become the richest Black man in history through music and fashion clothing.

West is a controversial character in the US, and his accounts on Instagram and Twitter have recently been blocked after a series of antisemitic outbursts.

He recently wore a “white lives matter” shirt during Paris fashion week.

“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves,” Ye was quoted as saying in a statement.

The proposed acquisition will assure Parler a future role in creating an uncancelable ecosystem where all voices are welcome, said the platform in return.

“This deal will change the world, and change the way the world thinks about free speech,” touted Parlement Technologies CEO George Farmer. “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,” said Farmer. “Parlement will be honoured to help him achieve his goals.”

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed – nor has the purchase price.

But the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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