Increasingly incoherent and unraveling rap star Kanye West’s latest bid for attention has him buying the wingnut-haven social media site Parler, though financial terms were not disclosed, and might not even exist.
We have some degree of trepidation in covering any developments regarding Kanye West, who now prefers to be called simply Ye, because most of his recent celebrity headlines are manifestations of the fact that he is, how do we say… not psychologically well these days.
But occasionally these developments are legitimate news. And that may (or ultimately, may not) be the case with today’s news on an AP report on KRON4 that West is buying the right-wing social media site Parler. Parler, you will perhaps recall, launched in 2018 as an outlet for people whose posts threatening violence had gotten them kicked of Facebook and Twitter.
Parlement Technologies is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement in principle for Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, to acquire the Parler platform. The acquisition ensures Parler a future role in creating an uncancelable ecosystem where all voices are welcome. pic.twitter.com/KXdhV71prl— Parler (@parler_app) October 17, 2022
And ironically, the deal was announced on Twitter, which tells you something about the size of Parler’s user base.
According to CNN, “Exact terms of the Parler deal weren’t disclosed, though Parler said it must still enter into a definitive agreement with West and expects to close in the fourth quarter.” In other words, there’s no evidence that there actually are any terms to this deal. Much like Elon Musk’s erratic, alleged Twitter acquisition, there appears to be no due diligence conducted by any intelligent adults here. And it’s clearly a knee-jerk response to Ye being suspended from Twitter and Instagram last week, as it comes eight days after he posted on a vow to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE” on those platforms.
There is also the larger question of. does Kanye even have money? Financially, is he above water at the moment?
It would probably not take much to buy Parler. CNN notes that the app metrics firm Apptopia estimates that Parler has but 40,000 active daily users, compared to Twitter’s nearly 240 million active daily users. Parler was also kicked off of both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store post-January 6 over violent rhetoric on the platform, though has since been reinstated to both. If Kanye West is running the show, there are fair odds it will be kicked off those platforms again.
Because West seems increasingly unhinged, and ever more inclined to make provocative and bigoted statements. A New York Daily News report picked up by the Bay Area News Group notes that over the weekend, West declared in an interview that George Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose rather than the knee on the neck for nine minutes, with Floyd’s family now considering legal action over these statements. In the same interview, West had more deranged remarks about “Jewish Zionists” which I guess you can read if you’re interested in Kanye West’s thoughts about “Jewish Zionists.”
NEW @Axios: Ye, formerly Kanye West, plans to acquire Parler— Sara Fischer (@sarafischer) October 17, 2022
Big picture: Conservatives really starting to build alternate media universe
— Elon is buying Twitter
— Trump building his own platform
— Peter Thiel and J.D. Vance are funding Rumblehttps://t.co/2bMJVs6PDY
CNN’s assessment notes, “Buying Parler could make West the latest celebrity owner of a social media platform after former President Donald Trump’s bid to win over conservatives with Truth Social and Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s proposed acquisition of Twitter. It also highlights how a small group of wealthy men, some of whom were banned or suspended themselves for incendiary remarks, are looking to own social media platforms in an effort to bolster what they call ‘free speech.’”
That’s all true, but misses a couple important points. First, both Parler and Truth Social have microscopic user bases, and if this Elon Musk-Twitter thing actually goes through, it may eliminate both Parler and Truth Social’s rationales for existing — that is, if Musk follows through on dropping Twitter's hard-fought content moderation rules, which he very well might not.
But more significantly, between the three of them, Elon Musk, Donald Trump, and Kanye West have shown absolutely no capacity to successfully run a social media company. Parler and Truth Social have negligible numbers of users, Musk’s “tenure” at Twitter has merely been a summer of shitshow headlines with more lawsuit-filing than deal-closing. This all seems more about oligarch narcissists trying to draw attention to themselves than it is about free speech, considering what petulant crybabies these three men turn into when the free speech is critical of them.
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13: (L to R) President-elect Donald Trump and Kanye West stand together in the lobby at Trump Tower, December 13, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)