Twitter has suspended rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, after he tweeted a picture of a swastika merged with the Star of David.
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,” Musk tweeted. “Despite that, he again violated our rule against incitement to violence. Account will be suspended.”
Ye has made a series of anti-Jewish comments in recent weeks. On Thursday, Ye praised Hitler in an interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. “I like Hitler,” he said several times.
Ye’s remarks have led to his suspension from social media platforms, his talent agency dropping him and companies such as Adidas cutting their business ties. The sportswear manufacturer has also launched an investigation into his conduct.
The one-time titan of fashion and music shared a picture of a shirtless Musk getting sprayed with water, captioned, “Let’s always remember this as my final tweet.”
Musk said in response, “Just clarifying that his account is being suspended for incitement to violence, not an unflattering pic of me.”
‘Free speech absolutist’
Musk is under pressure to clean up Twitter after changes that he made following his purchase of the platform resulted in what watchdog groups say is a rise in racist, anti-Semitic and other toxic speech.
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 going into effect. They require tech companies to better police their platforms under threat of big fines or even a ban in the 27-nation bloc.
Musk, who previously called himself a “free speech absolutist,” has repeatedly said he believes all content permitted by law should be allowed on Twitter. He has sought to remake the social media organisation after he took control in October.
Since taking over the platform, Musk has cut around half of Twitter’s workforce, including many employees who fight disinformation, while an unknown number of others have quit.
The company has also begun reinstating roughly 62,000 banned accounts in what is being referred to internally as “the Big Bang”, according to the Platformer news blog.
Parler purchase falls through
Ye had plans to offer Musk some competition by offered to buy the right-wing-leaning social media site Parler in October, but the company said this week the deal has fallen through.
Parler is a small platform in the emerging space of far-right and libertarian social apps that promise little to no content moderation to weed out hate speech, racism, misinformation and other objectionable content. None of the sites has come close to reaching mainstream status.
Parler launched in 2018 but was kicked offline in January 2021 over its ties to the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol that month.
A month after the attack, Parler announced a relaunch but did not return to Google Play until September of this year.