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Kanye to Buy Parler, Keep Posting Dark Twisted Social-Media Rants

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Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, may be famous for his music, but he has made it clear that he wants to be known as something more. “I am not what I would consider truly a musician. I am an inventor. I am an innovator,” he said in a 2015 essay for Paper.

Graduation was an innovation. 808s & Heartbreak was an innovation,” he continued. “I care about innovating. I don’t care about capitalizing off of something that we’ve seen or heard a thousand times. I’m not a capitalist in that way. I’m an innovator. That’s my job. I like two things: I like innovating and I like making things better. It’s not that I always have to invent things that are new. Sometimes I can take something that’s there and attempt to make a better version and that’s what gets me off. Bottom line.”

Sadly, he has increasingly become known as a person who makes unhinged, often offensive public statements. Most recently, he made a string of antisemitic remarks, prompting Instagram and Twitter to restrict his accounts. Now, Ye has responded by agreeing in principle to buy the right-leaning social-media platform Parler.

“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 released by Parler. The terms of the agreement have not been made public, but Ye and Parlement Technologies expect to finalize the deal in the fourth quarter of this year, according to the New York Times.

Perhaps Ye thinks he can turn Parler into a “better version” of itself. But this feels less like the action of a great innovator and more like a copycat move that will lead only to more discussion about what role his struggles with bipolar disorder play in his odious public remarks.

Ye’s Parler move comes amid one of the “ugliest months of his career,” as the Los Angeles Times put it. Here’s the paper’s recap:

In just this last year, West’s wife Kim Kardashian filed for divorce, prompting West to publicly lash out against her and her family. West threatened her then-boyfriend Pete Davidson (including a mock murder in the music video for “Eazy”), and the Grammys, citing “concerning online behavior,” canceled his planned performance during the April ceremony. Kid Cudi, his longtime friend and collaborator, also cut ties with West this year, saying “It’s gonna take a … miracle for me and that man to be friends again.”

This last week, West’s behavior fully unraveled. At his YZY runway show during Paris Fashion Week, he posed next to far-right political commentator Candace Owens wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt (a slogan popularized by fascist and neo-Nazi groups). After facing wide criticism, he posted that he’s going to “Go death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” which prompted Instagram and later Twitter to pull the plug on his accounts. He then went on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, made further antisemitic remarks and claimed conspiracies around the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, among other falsehoods. And in un-aired footage, he said that someone had planted “fake children” in his home “to sexualize my kids.”

It’s easy to see why Ye would want to decamp to his own free-speech bastion, like his pals Donald Trump and (maybe) Elon Musk. Ye placed a call to the Truth Social proprietor after he decided to buy Parler, according to Politico, and the two made plans to have dinner. When Ye briefly returned to Twitter after he was kicked off Instagram, Musk tweeted, “Welcome back to Twitter, my friend!” Then when Ye’s Twitter account was locked too, Musk said he’d had a chat with his friend about why it’s not cool to tweet, “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.”

Did Musk also suggest that Ye buy his own social-media site where he can make the rules? Maybe, but that wouldn’t have been very good business advice. A recent report from Pew Research Center found that only 6 percent of adults are regularly using alternative social-media sites such as BitChute, Gab, Gettr, Parler, Rumble, Telegram, and Truth Social. And CNN notes that Parler’s daily user count has taken a nosedive, dropping to about 40,000 active users since it ran into some trouble around the Capitol riot:

Parler was founded in 2018 and saw rapid growth surrounding the 2020 election. Billing itself as a loosely moderated free-speech haven, the app became popular with conservative politicians and media figures, peaking at an estimated 2.9 million daily users, according to the market research firm Apptopia. But since then, its fortunes have dimmed, with Parler’s estimated daily user count slipping to just 40,000, Apptopia told CNN on Monday. (Twitter, by comparison, has more than 237 million daily active users.)

In the weeks following the Jan. 6 riots, Parler was removed from both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for what the companies said was a failure to adequately moderate violent rhetoric on the platform. Documents provided to the House committee investigating the Capitol riots have shown how the Secret Service was aware of posts on Parler that suggested the possibility of violence surrounding that day. Separately, Parler has written to Congress claiming that lawmakers’ interest in the app’s role in the riots has been intended to “scapegoat” the app.

Parler has since been restored to both app stores after making changes to its content moderation practices.

Musk could soon make all these Twitter alternatives irrelevant. If his deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion goes through, he might restore Ye, Trump, and everyone else’s right to freely express their darkest, most hate-filled thoughts on the social-media giant.

This post was updated to include Ye’s call to Trump.

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Kanye to Buy Parler, Keep Posting Dark Twisted Online Rants