Kanye West to buy social media app Parler
American rapper Kanye West, who now goes by the name Ye, has proposed to buy Parler, the social media platform popular among US conservatives, parent company Parlement Technologies said on Monday.
Nashville-based Parler, which has raised about $56m (about R1bn) to date, said it expects the deal to close during the fourth quarter of 2022. It did not give a deal value.
The deal comes as Parler, launched in 2018 and styled as a free speech space for those seeking an alternative to platforms such as Twitter, has been reinstated on Google and Apple’s app stores after being removed following the US Capitol riots in January 2021.
Ye, also a fashion designer, has in the past few weeks terminated his partnership with apparel retailer Gap, while German sporting goods maker Adidas has put its business partnership with the rapper under review.
The rapper has also had problems with major social media platforms, being restricted a number of times.
Most recently, West was locked out of his Instagram account by Facebook parent Meta Platforms for posts online users condemned as anti-Semitic. He then moved to Twitter, posting for the first time in two years.
“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 said in a statement.
He seemed to have joined Parler on Monday and had about 91 followers at the time of the announcement.
The rapper announced in 2020 that he would run for US president in an apparent challenge to former US president Donald Trump, but later pulled out.
Parler has garnered traction from supporters of Trump.
Last month Parler created a new parent company, Parlement Technologies, as part of an overhaul.
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