Elon Musk and Kanye West.
Two personalities that have become household names.
Two influencers who can make headlines at any time.
Two billionaires who see themselves as disrupters and visionaries.
Two billionaires who like to create controversy and who seem to thrive on it.
They are friends.
Musk is synonymous with clean vehicles for the general public. He was able to create, around Tesla (TSLA) the image of a revolutionary and unconventional CEO.
Kanye West, known now as Ye, is synonymous with what is best in the world of sneakers. The rapping musician has revolutionized the sports shoe with his brand YEEZY.
A Formidable Duo
Now the two businessmen may join forces to create a formidable duo, Musk hinted on Twitter, before deleting the post a few hours later. It’s rare for the billionaire to delete a Twitter post.
This duo is likely to disrupt the landscape of social networks since the idea would be to merge Parler, the messaging platform of the conservatives, with Twitter (TWTR) a mainstream social network.
Musk is in the process of completing the acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion, while Ye will buy Parler, according to a press release issued on Oct. 17. The financial terms of Ye’s transaction were not disclosed.
Musk posted a message on Twitter at around 3:59 PM ET, hours after the announcement of Ye’s purchase of Parler. On the image we see the two men joining their arms and hands. They are all smiles.
The character on the left, who is obviously Ye, has a Parler inscription written on his shirt. The character on the right, who appears to be Musk, has a Twitter inscription on his shirt.
“Wait for it…” are the three words that accompany the image.
Merging Twitter and Parler?
Musk says nothing more. A few minutes later, he posted an equally mysterious message.
“Fun times ahead!!” the tech tycoon said.
The posts took Twitter users by surprise, wondering if these clues are implying a merger of Twitter and Parler to form a huge platform that will become the bastion of conservatives.
Parler, launched in 2018, presents itself as a “no censorship” platform. During the 2020 presidential election, it quickly became the meeting place for conservatives and pro-Trump voters.
But the outbreak of conspiracy theories and other extreme right-wing rhetoric has put the platform in violation of App Store and Google Play Store policies.
The platform thus saw its popularity melt away, while a new rival, Truth Social, appeared. Truth Social was started by Trump.
It must be said that the process, which led the two men to each acquire a social network, is almost identical. Until the unveiling of his participation in Twitter on April 4, Musk complained about the social network’s content management policy.
“Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” Musk wrote on March 25. “What should be done?”
He added: “Is a new platform needed?”
He therefore claimed that restoring free speech to the platform was one of the reasons he would acquire it. The billionaire has already made it known that all comments will be tolerated as long as they do not violate the laws of the country in which they are made.
He promised to reinstate former President Donald Trump’s account which was suspended after the events of Jan. 6, 2021 on Capitol Hill.
Ye for his part announced the acquisition of Parler while he is in the midst of several racist and anti-Semitic controversies. The billionaire musician made numerous comments that prompted Instagram and Twitter to restrict his account.
“I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew also You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone who opposes your agenda,” Ye posted after Instagram restricted his account following another anti-Semitic message on Oct. 7.
The restriction came after he posted screenshots of text exchanges with rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs in which Ye said Diddy was being “controlled” by Jewish people. “Ima use you as an example to show the Jewish people that told you to call me that no one can threaten or influence me. I told you this was war,” Ye wrote.
Ye’s posts, which have since been deleted, play on old racist clichés that Jews control the world.
The rapper has also caused controversy by appearing on several occasions with a t-shirt on which was written “White Lives Matter.”
And on Oct. 16, he claimed that George Floyd, whose death sparked anti-racism protests across the world amid the 2020 pandemic, had died of fentanyl, a powerful prescription opiate.
George Floyd died after Derek Chauvin, one of four police officers who arrested him in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, knelt on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds.
Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in June 2021 and was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison.
Both Musk and Ye are also running against staunch opponents of the cancel culture they say is being pushed by progressives in the Democratic Party. The tech mogul says it’s one of the reasons he’s going to vote Republican for the first time in the midterm elections.
Hinting a possible alliance with Ye suggests that Musk is comfortable with the rapper’s politics.