What to know about Parler, the right-wing site Ye plans to buy

Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, is following in the footsteps of President Trump and Elon Musk and may soon own his own social media platform.

Parler, which bills itself as the leading global platform for free speech, has agreed to a deal in principle to sell itself to the controversial rapper and fashion designer, the company said Monday.

The move comes after Instagram and Twitter suspended Ye after he shared a series of racist and anti-Semitic remarks on both social media platforms. The rapper said the bans prompted him to buy the company.

“Back when I got kicked off Instagram and Twitter, I knew it was time to acquire my own platform,” Ye told Bloomberg News on Monday. “People had been talking about and mentioning this idea for years, but enough was enough.”

Parler welcomed the deal, saying, “The acquisition secures Parler a future role in creating an indissoluble ecosystem where all voices are welcome.”

What is Parler?

Founded in 2018, Parler is based in Nashville. It is among a number of new social media sites and web platforms that have become a home for right-wing supporters alienated by the tightening policies of larger sites like Facebook and Twitter against hate speech and violent rhetoric.

The platform describes itself as a “welcoming, impartial public space” that prides itself on not restricting users’ speech — even when it’s offensive, like the comments West made earlier this month.

Twitter suspended Yes’s account after saying he was going to do “Death Crimes 3 Against JEWISH PEOPLE,” the latest in a series of outbursts peppered with anti-Semitic tropes.

“Paler’s content policies are based on the principle of individual rights — including everyone’s inalienable right to speak freely and think for themselves,” said Amy Peikoff, Parler’s director of policy and law, in a statement. “While Parler has always prohibited violent or other infringing content, we agree with Nadine Strossen and other scholars that ‘objectionable’ but otherwise lawful language is best addressed by allowing or encouraging more Speech.”

All attacks based on race, gender, sexual orientation/identity, religion are flagged by filters that users can use, Peikoff added.

Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores last year after the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol, saying the company hadn’t done enough to contain security threats.

Whose is this?

According to CNN, Parler’s supporters include conservative political donor Rebekah Mercer.

The CEO of Parler’s parent company, George Farmer, is married to Candace Owens, the commentator who has supported Ye on various outbreaks.

The conservative arsonist was seen alongside Yes on the YZY runway show during Paris Fashion Week, where the pair shared wearing “White Lives Matter” shirts (a slogan popularized by fascist and neo-Nazi groups) a triggered a backlash.

Parler focuses on politics, health, and social issues and doesn’t fact-check users, said Jennifer T. Edwards, executive director of the Texas Social Media Research Institute at Tarleton State University.

“Parler is a niche social media platform that conservatives feel most comfortable on. Users are flocking to sites that make them feel like they belong,” Edwards said.

How tall is Parler?

Parler doesn’t have the reach of Twitter or Meta’s own Instagram.

Its appeal seems to have waned this year amid competition from startups targeting right-wing users.

In the US, Parler had 725,000 monthly active users in the first half of 2022, according to data analytics firm Data.ai, compared to 5.2 million in the same period last year.

Its ranking has plummeted from being the number three social/microblogging app in the US in the first half of 2021 to number 10 in the first half of this year.

Who else does it compete with?

Parler was overtaken in the rankings by former President Trump’s Truth Social and Gettr (founded by ex-Trump adviser Jason Miller).

It also faces competition from Gab — the microblogging and social networking service known for its far-right user base, whose posters include Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene — as well as Me.We, Rumble and DLive.

But being owned by Ye could give Parler a boost.

“Through West’s efforts, Parler has the potential to become more mainstream,” Edwards said. “People who’ve never heard of the social media platform will turn to it out of sheer curiosity.”

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2022-10-18/what-is-parler-the-right-wing-website-that-will-ye-and-his-cohorts-new-platform-for-hate-speech What to know about Parler, the right-wing site Ye plans to buy

Sarah Ridley

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