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Ye's Twitter account is suspended again, Elon Musk says

Yahoo Finance’s Daniel Howley joins the Live show to discuss Kanye ‘Ye’ West’s recent Twitter account suspension.

Video Transcript


BRAD SMITH: Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has been suspended on Twitter by Elon Musk after posting anti-Semitic images that Musk says, violates the platform's policy against inciting violence. Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley is here with more. Dan, what do we know about the extent of the suspension? And ultimately, what this signals for Twitter in their own policies going forward, too.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, I mean, this really is kind of an unprecedented time. This guy has the ear-- or I guess had the ear of Elon Musk. Musk-- Kanye West posted a text message between him and Musk where Musk basically, you know, criticizes him for this post that he put up, which was a swastika inside of a Star of David.

This followed Kanye West's wild tirade about Hitler on Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist's show, basically praising him. And so now, he's just fully suspended. We don't know how long the suspension is going to last. There's no bans. He's suspended. Just like we had seen other accounts suspended on Twitter before. No one's ever been fully banned forever.

But you know, this just kind of comes at a time where, you know, Musk has that blanket amnesty issue going on where anybody that didn't say anything illegal or wasn't exceptionally spammy is allowed to come back on. Those thousands of accounts will be able to come back.

And at a time where, you know, you're talking about Twitter, and Elon Musk, and how he wants to be-- say he want-- saying he wants to be a free speech absolutist. But then having this kind of come out, someone that he's been in contact with. It really does kind of slap him in the face. And as I said, there was that text message exchange between the two. So this is someone that he clearly had spoken to and he welcomed back onto the platform not more than a few weeks ago.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah, not more than a few weeks ago. And said he was-- they had spoken, he was assured that-- or reassured, perhaps, that Ye would not make these kind of comments. Thanks so much, Dan Howley. Appreciate it.

You know, obviously, this whole business is a risky one. Both from a curation and moderation perspective. And balancing that between that experience for most of the people on the platform and having the attention that someone like Ye has with his 32 million followers that he had before the suspension.

But we have gotten a little bit more information now about what-- where the line is for a Twitter under Musk. One, he doesn't like Alex Jones. He said that in a tweet recently. He's made that clear. And two, incitement to violence seems to be this line.


JULIE HYMAN: But that's a fuzzy-- it's a difficult line to draw, perhaps, at times.

BRAD SMITH: He tweeted that out saying, "Despite that--" and that being him reaching out to Kanye West or Ye and saying that what he was doing was going against their policies-- "--he again violated our rule against incitement to violence. Account will be suspended here."

Now, when you think about what Elon Musk has undertaken in needing to moderate or to the extent that you're keeping Twitter safe, even if you are trying to champion free speech, there is a far difference-- or at least we're trying to understand now under Elon Musk, what that line is between what he sees as free speech versus what he sees as hate speech.

And because there has been so much hate speech that has now become even more prolific as a result of him taking over the platform, where will the platform itself need to make sure that the algorithms that Elon Musk touted he was going to bring into the equation when he took over the company, where will that be able to flag some of these instances?

And ultimately, result in some type of account suspension or other activities similar to this case, as with Ye. And for Elon Musk, it also comes at a time where you're trying to just keep advertisers on the platform, too.

JULIE HYMAN: Right, right.

BRAD SMITH: And advertisers seem to be pausing their campaigns in mass right now.

JULIE HYMAN: Although, Twitter's now reportedly offering incentives to some of those big advertisers to stay on the platform. One small note as well, as the difference between pre-Musk Twitter and post-Musk Twitter when there are suspensions, before all of the past tweets were taken off the platform for the time being. Now, the past tweets, aside from the one that was flagged, can remain in place. So that's just something to mention.

Something else to mention, by the way, is that Ye's agreement to buy Parler, the right-wing alternative social media site, has now been dissolved. It's been agreed upon with both parties. But Parliament, which is the owner of Parler, said the deal was made in the interest mainly due to his recent and well-publicized business difficulties. When you lose Parler, like--


JULIE HYMAN: Right? You know, in other words, this is a right-wing social media site.


JULIE HYMAN: When they won't deal with Kanye-- now, whether that's because of his commentary or because of his very public erraticism, maybe the latter, maybe that's more the issue.

BRAD SMITH: Yeah, when you lose Parler and then your last resort for posting becomes Truth Social, which we've seen some screenshots about Ye then needing to default after to try and still have some type of microphone on Truth Social. That's even more telling as well here.

JULIE HYMAN: Right, if you put out hate speech and you don't have a platform at all, maybe that ideally is where we get to.