If you can believe it, Ye is in the news again.
Formerly known as Kanye West, the American music and fashion mogul made headlines once more when his agreement to buy conservative social media app Parler became public.
In an October 17th press release, Parlement Technologies — the “free speech” platform’s parent company — stated the acquisition represents Ye’s “bold stance against recent censorship from Big Tech… to further lead the fight to create a truly non-cancelable environment”.
But how sound is this business decision for (Kan)Ye and Parler? Given the platform’s stagnating user base and Ye’s recent social media transgressions, questions about whether the deal is anything beyond an “expensive protest statement” abound.
So to clear things up, we’ve visualized Parler’s history and competitive landscape as infographics. Keep reading for a full breakdown of Ye’s upcoming purchase.
Click to jump ahead:
- A closer look at Parler’s business history [timeline infographic]
- Upacking Ye’s Parler purchase
- The future of Ye and Parler
A closer look at Parler’s business history [timeline infographic]
If you’ve been paying attention to American politics these past few years, this probably isn’t the first you’ve heard of Parler.
From its rise to prominence, thanks to Donald Trump and QAnon, to its mass deplatforming (and eventual reinstatement) post-January sixth riots, the app’s been steeped in controversies for some time.
To illustrate, we’ve charted Parler’s business history in a timeline template you can reference and share:
Indeed, the app’s operational logic is problematic by design. With minimal content moderation (at most), the self-proclaimed “uncancelable” free speech haven has proven a breeding ground for bigotry, hate speech and disinformation.
But Parler is not alone in this ideological stance. Other alternative social networks like Gettr and Truth Social have cropped up, vying for attention from the same subset of society: right-wingers looking for their own safe space to express themselves.
And this increased competition has taken a toll. The app’s user base, peaking at 15 million between November 2020 and its offlining in January 2021, now sits at just 40,000 daily active users — much less than the two alt-socials mentioned prior.
Of course, all of the above are still massively overshadowed by Twitter. Check out this bubble chart comparing Twitter active users vs. Parler, Gettr and Truth Social active users:
So, was Ye “tripping off the Power” when he decided to buy Parler? And why Parler, specifically?
Unpacking Ye’s Parler purchase
If there’s one thing Ye’s not about, it’s censorship. Which is why the announcement comes after a string of anti-semitic comments led Twitter and Instagram to suspend his accounts.
So the purchase presents an attractive solution to being censored on social media. And he’s certainly not the first to think this way.
Trump’s flirtations — then failed negotiations — with Parler, followed by a full-on Twitter ban after inciting the violent storming of the Capitol, led him to launch rival alternative network, Truth Social, in February.
Elon Musk’s turbulent Twitter takeover is also earmarked by apparent concerns over the platform’s lack of free speech. (That he tweeted out, of course.)
All have posed challenges for Parler’s share of the conservative social media market. And with Musk’s bid to buy Twitter set to outsize everyone, it’s hard to see how Ye could come out on top.
So why buy Parler?
His connection to conservative influencer Candace Owens may hold the answer.
Owens is married to George Farmer, Parler’s CEO. And though the two have maintained a provocative public friendship for some time, many critics see the move as Owens and Farmer cashing in on Ye’s indignation.
The future of Ye and Parler
With the deal expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2022, many questions remain: can Ye’s purchase entice users back to Parler? Will this business decision “only make him Stronger”?
Is Elon Musk’s Twitter bid bound to upend it all?
No matter what happens, you can be sure we’ll find out.
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