⛔ Kanye's Parler Trick
Kanye West (who now goes by 'Ye') announced last week his intentions to buy the social media platform, Parler. West found himself locked out of his Twitter and Instagram accounts in recent weeks following antisemitic comments. Now he seems to be doubling down on his idea of free speech. “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, notes TechCrunch. The details of the sale are not yet known.
Parler, which has become notorious as a breeding ground for far-right and hate groups, released its own statement on the deal. “The proposed acquisition will assure Parler a future role in creating an uncancelable ecosystem where all voices are welcome,” the company said. “This deal will change the world, and change the way the world thinks about free speech,” George Farmer, the company's CEO, added in his own statement. “Ye is making a groundbreaking move into the free speech media space and will never have to fear being removed from social media again.”
According to Rolling Stone, Parler was dropped from Amazon cloud services as its ties to the January 6th insurrection became known. Apple and Google also blocked the platform's app from their stores.
Twitter, Parler, et al.
As Ye vies to make a haven for conservative opinions, Elon Musk is touting his own free-speech ideas as he continues with his Twitter acquisition. “I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump,” Musk said in May, writes Vanity Fair. “I think that was a mistake.” Meanwhile, Jessica Gonzalez, the co-CEO of Free Press, fears Musk's Twitter will “see prolific conspiracy theories, and white supremacists return to the platform and a lot more people who hold power and who are willing to use platforms to spread hate and harassment campaigns.”
If 2016 brought Facebook's role in elections (and Democracy writ large) into question, 2024 may be a test for other social media platforms. Moreover, it's becoming clear that freedom of speech means different things to different people depending on which side of the political spectrum you fall on.