Kanye West returns to Twitter
Twitter has unlocked the account of controversial rapper and entrepreneur Kanye “Ye” West. Billionaire Elon Musk earlier pledged to return freedom of speech to the social media platform.
West’s account became visible just hours after Musk completed his $44 billion takeover of Twitter on Thursday night. It had been locked on October 9, after the rapper posted a tweet saying, “I’m going death con 3 on Jewish people.”
At least four high-ranking Twitter executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal, were reportedly fired after Musk closed the deal. The Tesla CEO made his takeover bid for the platform in April, saying he was a “free speech absolutist” and that he planned to unlock the company’s full value by ending its overwrought censorship practices. Critics, including distraught Twitter employees, complained that Musk would make the platform “unsafe” by allowing “harmful” content.
West, who has been pilloried by legacy media outlets for his controversial comments in recent weeks, had been inactive on Twitter for nearly two years before running afoul of its content moderators earlier this month. He returned to the platform, where he still has nearly 32 million followers, after his Instagram account was banned. Musk responded by tweeting, “Welcome back to Twitter, my friend!”
One of West’s first tweets upon his return featured a picture of himself with a group of people that included Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, Instagram’s parent company. “Look at this, Mark,” West said in the post. “How you gone kick me off Instagram? You used to be my ni**a.” Within three days, his Twitter account was locked.
West has been booted from various platforms in recent weeks and excommunicated by some business associates. The rapper’s talent agency dropped him. Adidas also severed ties with West, ceasing sales of his Yeezy product line. His latest setback came on Thursday, when his music was removed from the Apple Music streaming platform.
Musk posted an open letter to Twitter advertisers on Thursday, apparently seeking to calm their nerves about his plans for the platform. “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape where anything can be said with no consequences,” he said. However, he stood by his desire to make Twitter an open marketplace of ideas. “The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.”