Kanye West (Ye) Is Considering Buying Parler — But Who Owns It Now?

Social media platform Parler was founded by John Matze and Jared Thomson, though they are no longer involved in the company. Parler might soon be owned by rapper Kanye West.

Rachel Curry - Author

Oct. 17 2022, Updated 11:55 a.m. ET

Kanye West to acquire Parler app
Source: Apple;Getty Images

Right-wing social media app Parler may still have a long way to go before it reaches Facebook or Instagram status, but it's certainly gaining more and more attention these days, including that of rapper Kanye West (Ye).

On Oct. 17, 2022, Parler’s parent company, Parlement Technologies, announced that it had entered into an agreement with Ye, which would give him ownership rights.

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But until that deal is sealed, Parler’s current owners will still maintain control over it. While there are a lot of big names behind Parler's curtains, its official owners are few. We can introduce you to them all.

Who founded the Parler app?

parler founders matze thomson
Source: Twitter / LinkedIn

The initial owners of Parler were two guys named John Matze and Jared Thomson. They both went to the University of Denver, and they founded the site during their time at the school in 2018. In March 2021, Matze was reportedly ousted after a dispute arose between him and one of the company's mega-donors, Rebekah Mercer.

In addition to leaving the company, NPR says Matze was also "stripped of his entire stake in the company."

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As for Thomson, it appears his time at Parler also ended in March 2021, according to his LinkedIn profile. Thomson not only served as the company's CTO and lead engineer, but he says he is responsible for writing a large portion of the serve code.

Who owns Parler Technologies today?

With Matze and Thomson now out of the picture, many are wondering who is responsible for pulling the strings over at Parler. In September 2022, TechCrunch reported that Parler would be operating under a new parent company called Parler Technologies.

The news came after Parler announced that it had acquired the cloud company, Dynascale.

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In addition to renaming itself, Parler also received $16 million in funding from an unnamed source. Some of the funding it previously received came from Mercer, a Republican political donor.

It is rumored that Mercer is one of the largest shareholders, which would give her voting power on the board. Given the recent round of funding it received, there are likely a few other investors who possess control over Parler.

Is Dan Bongino an owner of Parler?

Dan Bongino
Source: Getty Images

Dan Bongino is a right-wing conservative political commentator and radio host who has built a career on sticking to the fringes. He's also a big name at Parler and often confused as an official owner.

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While it's been reported that Bongino holds an ownership-level stake in the private equity-backed company, Matze alleged in a 2021 lawsuit that Mercer never drew up the official documents that made Bongino a shareholder. Whether Bongino is an investor or not is still in question.

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Who is Parler's CEO?

george farmer candace owens donald trump
Source: Instagram

Since launching in 2018, Parler has been controlled by a number of different people. But as of October 2022, it is George Farmer who currently holds the title as Parler's CEO. And he is looking forward to watching Ye step in and take over.

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According to Farmer, Ye's acquisition of Parler "will change the world and change the way the world thinks about free speech." An agreement has already been drawn up between the two parties and the deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2022, reports PRNewswire.

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The move to purchase Parler would be big one for Ye as it reflects a stand against Big Tech. Ye was restricted from platforms like Twitter and Instagram in October 2022 after he uploaded antisemitic posts.

Parler considers itself an "uncancelable" social media platform–but is it really?

Similar to Truth Social, a social media app founded by Donald Trump, Parler prides itself on allowing its users to express their freedom of speech. But, despite its goal of becoming an "uncancelable" social media platform, it was kicked off Apple's App Store and Google's Play store in January 2021.

After spending nearly four months "offline," Parler was brought back by Apple and Google in April 2021.


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