Kanye West buys Parler app to ensure conservatives ‘have the right to speak freely’

Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has agreed to buy Parler, a social media platform that has been embraced by conservatives who quit Twitter over allegations of political censorship.

Parliament Technologies, the company behind Parler, announced Monday that it has reached an agreement in principle to sell the social media platform to Ye for an undisclosed amount, while continuing to offer technical support such as cloud services.

Ye’s decision to buy her own social media platform comes at a time when the biggest tech companies are struggling to control and manage some of their biggest users.

“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 Monday.

Ye recently faced restrictions from major social media platforms for violating content policies.

Twitter deleted a tweet from Ye last week about Jews, just a day after he returned to the platform for the first time in nearly two years. Instagram also deleted posts.

Talking was also banned from app stores of Google and Apple Inc after violating its policies in January 2021 following the United States Capitol insurrection. Talk returned to the Apple platform in May 2021, but only returned to Google’s main app store last month.

Speak is part of a growing group of so-called alt-tech sites that aim to give conservatives a forum to share views they claim are being silenced on mainstream media. But platforms have sometimes struggled to meet their users’ expansive definition of free speech while complying with App Store policies.

Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk, who hosted the rapper on Twitter just hours before Ye’s account was locked, decided to pursue his offer to buy Twitter after months of back and forth negotiations. Musk said he would prioritize free speech on Twitter and criticized his decision to ban individuals such as former President Donald Trump for breaking his rules.

Trump’s rival Truth Social platform has been available on the Apple App Store since February, but has yet to launch on the Google Play Store.

Ye recently sparked controversy after wearing a shirt to Paris Fashion Week that read “White Lives Matter.” The artist also launched high level fights via Instagram with partner companies such as Adidas and Gap.

Ye’s user profile on Parler, linked to the press release announcing the deal, was created on Monday and as of 11:30 a.m. BST had 91 followers.

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Jennifer C. Burleigh