Kanye West agrees to buy Parler social media app, Digital News


American rapper Kanye West, who now calls himself Ye, has agreed in principle to buy Parler, the social media platform popular among American conservatives, parent company Parliament Technologies announced on Monday (October 17th).

Nashville-based Parler, which has raised around US$56 million (S$80 million) to date, said it expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter of 2022. He didn’t value the deal.

Talk, which launched in 2018, has been reinstated in Google and Apple Inc’s app stores after being removed following the US Capitol riots in January 2021.

Parler is one of several social media platforms, including Gettr, Gab, and Truth Social, that are positioning themselves as free speech alternatives to Twitter Inc.

Last month, Parler created a new parent company, Parliament Technologies Inc, as part of a revamp.

In an interview with Reuters on Monday, Parliament Technologies CEO George Farmer said talks with Ye had started recently, after Paris Fashion Week.

In Paris on October 3, Ye, who is also a fashion designer, wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase: “White Lives Matter”.

Four days later, he posted posts on Instagram that several Jewish groups called anti-Semitic. Meta Platforms, which owns Instagram and Facebook, locked Ye from his Instagram account for posts.

Ye then moved to Twitter, posting on October 8 for the first time in two years; Twitter quickly locked his account.

The Parler deal closed quickly, CEO Farmer said, and Parliament was “presented with an opportunity”.

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“The motivating factor with him was the Instagram blocking discussion.” Farmer declined to say whether the deal included a termination fee if either party terminated it.

In September, Ye ended his partnership with clothing retailer Gap Inc, while German sporting goods maker Adidas said on October 6 that it was reviewing its business partnership with the rapper.

Farmer said on Monday that he was not concerned about the publicity prospects of Parler sous Ye.

“I see this as a wake-up call for companies that want to de-platform people,” Farmer said. “There are more and more advertisers who want to advertise in this space.”

Ye appeared to have joined Parler on Monday and had around 91 subscribers at the time of the announcement. It now has 3,900.

“In a world where conservative views are seen as controversial, we must ensure we have the right to express ourselves freely,” he said in a statement.

Farmer says Parler has 16.5 million registered users. Research firm Apptopia estimates that the platform has been installed 11.7 million times since its launch, with around 40,000 daily active users.

Forbes estimates that Ye has a net worth of $2 billion.

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