Kanye West, the rapper who also goes by the name Ye, has reached an agreement to buy “uncancelable free speech platform” Parler, the two said in a statement Monday, in a move they said will help individuals express their conservative opinions freely.
As part of the deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, Parler has agreed to sell fully to West, but the social network will continue to receive technical support from Parlement Technologies, including access to its private cloud services and its data center infrastructure. The deal is expected to close in the ongoing quarter.
West, who has accused Meta and Twitter of censoring him in recent weeks, said in a statement: “In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves.”
West, who also runs apparel and sports businesses, was locked out of his Instagram and Twitter accounts earlier this month for posting antisemitic messages.
Parler, which is considered a haven for conservatives and has attracted fans of former President Donald Trump, made a return to the Google Play Store last month after it was pulled by Google following the Capital riots in January 2021 for its role in inciting violence.
“The proposed acquisition will assure Parler a future role in creating an uncancelable ecosystem where all voices are welcome,” the company said in a statement.
Parler, based in Nashville, was founded in 2018 by John Matze and Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of the billionaire hedge fund manager and Breitbart founder Robert Mercer and has raised about $56 million across private funding rounds. The company, which has sought to rail against censorship and presented itself as “free speech,” added a content moderation layer to the platform last year in bid to be restored by Apple’s App Store.
Parler has amassed a little over 250,000 monthly active users on its iOS and Android apps, according to market intelligence platform Sensor Tower. (The data was shared to TechCrunch by an industry executive.) In a survey of more than 10,000 people, Pew Research reported earlier this month that 38% had heard of Parler.
Parlement Technologies chief executive George Farmer said in a statement: “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 honored to help him achieve his goals.”