How will Kanye, Elon and Trump’s social media shake up?

Elon Musk, who seems to be moving forward with his precarious deal to buy Twitter, seemed to bask in the prospect of a changing social media landscape, with himself, Donald Trump, and Kanye West at the bar. On Tuesday, he shared a meme of their heads superimposed on the Three Musketeers: “In retrospect, it was inevitable,” he captioned the now-deleted image. And in a since-deleted Monday tweet, Musk shared a meme depicting himself and West using Twitter and Talk to combine their powers: “Fun times ahead!”

West, a star rapper, producer and fashion mogul who now goes by Ye, said on Monday that he plans to buy Parler, the minor Rebecca Mercer– Funded social media network that launched in 2018 as a safe space for the Trump wing of the Republican Party, and has become an online hotbed for anti-government militias, QAnon fanatics, and more. The announcement came days after West himself was temporarily banned from Twitter for a series of anti-Semitic remarks. The news, while surprising, can be rationalized; George Farmer, the CEO of Parler’s parent company, is married to a right-wing influencer Candice Owens, who has stood by West throughout his years-long evolution into a conservative champion. Owens seems to pop up whenever West stirs up controversy. (Like earlier this month, when the two posed in “White Lives Matter” t-shirts during Paris Fashion Week or when Owens defended West by saying he would go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE” , among others.)

But what will become of West’s ownership of Parler is even more uncertain. Parler received around 1.3 million visits during the month of August, according to traffic monitoring site Similarweb, a tiny amount of traffic even in the already niche world of conservative social platforms, as indicated by tech blogger Jay McKenzie. In comparison, accumulated data by Similiarweb showed that Trump’s Truth Social – the Twitter alternative he founded after his expulsion from Twitter and Facebook – had up to 9 million visits in the same month, and Gab, perhaps the Twitter alternative the more extreme, recorded 12.8 million during this period. On Parler, even the would-be owner of the platform has only racked up around 18,000 subscribers, despite being a high-profile celebrity. (West has 31.5 million Twitter followers.)

Plus, Musk’s memes about the trio taking the internet by storm, if the Tesla and SpaceX CEO follows through on the Twitter deal and his promises to remove some of the content restrictions that led to conservatives creating their own platforms. -forms, would there be a reason for speaking? Surely, West would find his way back to Twitter if his old friend ran things.

The rationale for Musk and Trump’s investments in social media seems crystal clear: Both rely heavily on their online personalities to bolster their celebrity status. Musk’s tweets have even influenced the stock market and are instrumental in building the Tesla brand. Likewise, Trump needs social media to rebuild the internet users who propelled him to the White House in 2016.

Maybe a celebrity face like West can flip Operation Speak, but it seems much more likely that he’ll be stuck with a failed product – one he can at least use to shout into the void online. without fear of reprisals. That said, the planned acquisition apparently cemented West’s friendship with Trump. Presenting Speak as a safe space for those who have been “bullied by thought police,” the rapper told Bloomberg News on Monday that he plans to have dinner with the former president to ask him to join the platform, although is an obvious competitor. to Social Truth. While conservative platforms can only attract a small corner of the market – a corner that’s much more crowded than a few years ago – new research from Pew Research has found that around 15% of accounts on Alternative social media sites like Gettr, Telegram, and Truth Social have joined these networks after being suspended, banned, or demonetized by one of the mainstream platforms. So there are a notable number of social media exiles who remain dependent on Parler and Truth Social for their publishing solution, at least until the Musk revolution hits Twitter.