Musk says Twitter has suspended rapper Ye over swastika post

Dec 1, 2022, 12:48 AM | Updated: Dec 2, 2022, 3:05 pm
FILE - Kanye West arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Feb. 9, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. ...

FILE - Kanye West arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Feb. 9, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. The rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, is no longer buying right-leaning social media site Parler, the company said Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Twitter has suspended rapper Ye after he tweeted a picture of a swastika merged with the Star of David.

It is the second time this year that Ye has been suspended from the platform over antisemitic posts.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk confirmed the suspension by replying to Ye’s post of an unflattering photo of Musk. Ye called it his “final tweet.”

“I tried my best. Despite that, he again violated our rule against incitement to violence. Account will be suspended,” Musk tweeted.

Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has made a series of antisemitic comments in recent weeks. On Thursday, Ye praised Hitler in an interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Ye’s remarks have led to his suspension from social media platforms, his talent agency dropping him and companies like Adidas cutting ties with him. The sportswear manufacturer has also launched an investigation into his conduct.

Ye was suspended from Twitter in early October after saying in a post that he was going to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.” His account was reinstated by the end of the month just as Musk took control of the company, but the billionaire tweeted that “Ye’s account was restored by Twitter before the acquisition. They did not consult with or inform me.”

Twitter’s longtime practice before Musk took over was to suspend offending users temporarily and to escalate that to a permanent ban only if they kept breaking the rules. Musk has said he wants to avoid permanent bans and that speech should be allowed so long as it doesn’t break the law in the countries where Twitter operates.

But Musk is now under pressure to clean up Twitter after changes he made following his purchase of the platform resulted in what watchdog groups say is a rise in racist, antisemitic and other toxic speech.

A report published Friday by the Anti-Defamation League said Musk’s moves have empowered extremists on the platform. The ADL said that in its role as a “trusted flagger” of antisemitic tweets, it reported two batches to the company on Nov. 2 — just days after Musk took over — and again on Nov. 17 after he had changed its policies and slashed Twitter’s workforce.

“In two weeks, Twitter went from taking action on 60% of antisemitic tweets to taking action on only 30%,” the group said.

ADL said it has noted both more antisemitic content and less moderation of antisemitic posts, a situation it says is likely to grow worse because of the cuts to Twitter’s content-moderation staff.

A top European Union official warned Musk this week that Twitter needs to do a lot more to protect users from hate speech, misinformation and other harmful content ahead of tough new rules requiring tech companies to better police their platforms, under threat of big fines or even a ban in the 27-nation bloc.

Ye’s Twitter ouster came after his bid to buy the rightwing-leaning social media site Parler was called off. Ye had offered Parler in October, but Parlement Technologies, which owns Parler, said Thursday that the deal had fallen through.

“This decision was made in the interest of both parties in mid-November,” Parlement Technologies said.

Parler is a small platform in the emerging space of right-leaning, far-right and libertarian social apps that promise little to no content moderation to weed out hate speech, racism and misinformation, among other objectionable content. None of the sites have come close to reaching mainstream status.

The rapper now appears to have migrated to another right-wing platform, former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social, where an account under Ye’s name posted about Musk on Friday. A representative for Truth Social didn’t respond to a request for comment but Ye’s profile carried a red check mark “reserved for well known, highly searched VIPs” to show the account is genuine.

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Musk says Twitter has suspended rapper Ye over swastika post