Kanye West To Buy Popular Social Media Platform, Parler

In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • Kanye West is set to buy the "Conservative" Social Platform Parler.

    • Thea deal is expected to go through before the end of 2022.

    • It's another attempt to create an un-cancelable ecosystem, one in which free speech reigns in a time of mass censorship by Big Tech and government agencies.

  • Reflect On:
    • Should we be so quick to allow speech to be censored so easily?

    • If this is the beginning of censorship, what will it look like in 3 or 4 years when it takes another few steps forward?

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“This deal will change the world, and change the way the world thinks about free speech,” Parler’s CEO said in a statement about Kanye West acquiring the controversial “conservative” social media platform. The deal is expected to close before the end of 2022.

The deal comes as Parler, which launched in 2018 and positioned itself as a free speech space for those seeking an alternative to platforms such as Twitter, has been reinstated on Google and Apple’s app stores after being removed following the U.S. Capitol riots in January 2021.

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West has been no stranger to controversy himself, being restricted and banned multiple times on social media platforms, like Twitter, for various ‘controversial’ remarks. It’s not just West, we’ve seen the same thing happen to multiple people in various fields, especially during the pandemic.

Renowned doctors and scientists, for example, who were sharing science, commentary and perspectives that opposed federal health authority recommendations and information were subjected to the same censorship.

Most recently, West was locked out of his Instagram account by Facebook parent Meta Platforms for posts condemned as antisemitic. He then moved to Twitter, posting for the first time in two years.

“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 in a statement.

In a statement of his own, Parler CEO George Farmer added:

“Ye’s acquiring of Parler will strengthen our ability to create an uncancelable ecosystem. No one should have to self-censor out of uncertainty about which legal speech will get him or her banned. No individual or business should worry about being completely deplatformed, as Parler was, merely for the expression of opposing viewpoints. Groupthink is, and always has been, more dangerous than independent thinking. Parler will remain a place where everyone can think, listen, and speak freely. We will continue the fight against censorship, cancel culture, and authoritarianism.”

Despite the fact that Parler is known as a “conservative” platform, other media outlets that have strong ties to the “left” or “liberal” ideas, as well as mainstream media networks like CNN, are not usually labelled or considered “liberal” or “democratic” platforms. Why is that? Often times it’s as if calling something “conservative” or “right leaning” is a pejorative that is attempting to signal the idea that there is something wrong with it.

Today, we live in an ecosystem of censorship, whereby certain information is removed, labelled as “false” or ridiculed by legacy media and government. This comes as there are in fact many inappropriate, unnecessary and even dangerous posts online – posts that Big tech seems quick to remove and censor. But it seems credible posts and ideas that go against mainstream conjecture will be lumped into this category as well, quickly shutting down well intentioned and meaningful debate.

“In secret, these companies had all agreed to work with the U.S. Government far beyond what the law required of them, and that’s what we’re seeing with this new censorship push is really a new direction in the same dynamic. These companies are not obligated by the law to do almost any of what they’re actually doing but they’re going above and beyond, to, in many cases, to increase the depth of their relationship (with the government) and the government’s willingness to avoid trying to regulate them in the context of their desired activities, which is ultimately to dominate the conversation and information space of global society in different ways…They’re trying to make you change your behaviour.”

Edward Snowden, NSA Whistleblower.

As federal agencies pair up with Big Tech organizations to censor legitimate information that opposes “official” government narratives, we can see something is seriously wrong with our current culture of sensemaking.

It doesn’t matter if you are conservative or liberal, a democrat or republican, all should be standing up for free speech, and condemn the censorship of information simply because it opposes and or exposes unethical actions by governments around the world.

We will leave you with this excerpt from an article we recently published titled, “The Left/Right Divide is Obsolete” written by Haley Kynefin. It’s quite fitting.

“I was never happy with the political division of “left” vs. “right.” The words, first and foremost, are vague even in their more primitive directional sense, since their interpretation depends entirely on the orientation of their user. What is “left” from my perspective will be “right” from yours, if you are standing opposite me, so it is important first to establish a frame of reference; otherwise there is likely to be confusion. 

But from a political standpoint, it is difficult to infer any sort of value system directly from the labels themselves. And in fact, no one has ever given me a satisfactory explanation of what exactly defines them. Some say, “The left prefers big government, while the right prefers small government.” Others decree, “The left wing is socialist, the right wing is capitalist.” 

But increasingly, it seems, these labels have devolved into jumbled assortments of specific policy alignments that have nothing to do with each other, at least without internalizing a series of tenuous assumptions about what links them. The right is “pro-gun;” the left is “anti-gun;” the left is “pro-abortion;” the right is “anti-abortion;” the right is Christian; the left is secular; and so on and so forth. 

Nor does it get any better when you layer these over the top of similar terms, such as “liberal” and “conservative” or “Republican” and “Democrat,” with which the “left” and “right” has been muddied. Can there be right-wing liberals and left-wing conservatives? Republicans and Democrats refer, of course, to the parties, but although there are registered right-wing Democrats and left-wing Republicans the terms are more or less understood as equivalent to “left-wing” and “right.” And as the percentage of voters disillusioned with both parties grows, we are left asking ourselves, do these divisions still effectively mark the modern social divide?

My answer is, no. In fact, I think they do us a grave disservice by obscuring the true cultural issues of our time within outdated boxes full of loaded assumptions, unfit for purpose. And I think we urgently need a new paradigm if we are to de-escalate our political rhetoric, return to the realm of civilized discourse and understand what we are facing.”

Haley Kynefin

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