Kanye West is taking a page out of Elon Musk's playbook by buying a social media platform of his own.
The rapper, who is legally known as Ye, is set to acquire Parler, the social media platform used by conservatives and especially supporters of former President Donald Trump as an alternative to Twitter. Parlement Technologies said Monday it has entered into an agreement in principle to sell Parler to West, which it expects to close in the fourth quarter of 2022.
"In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves," West said.
This comes after the rapper had his Instagram and Twitter accounts restricted following a series of antisemitic posts. He drew widespread criticism after threatening to go "death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE" in a tweet, leading Twitter to lock his account.
Launched in 2018, Parler gained newfound attention after Trump was suspended from Twitter and Facebook in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. In 2021, it went offline after Amazon Web Services removed it from its cloud hosting service following a warning that it had to "effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others." Parler was also removed from Apple and Google's App Stores after Jan. 6, though it has since returned to both. The platform reportedly has fewer than one million monthly active users.
Parler's CEO is George Farmer, husband of Candace Owens, the controversial conservative commentator who defended West's antisemetic tweet. "This deal will change the world," Farmer said in a statement, "and change the way the world thinks about free speech."