Twitter, with its CEO Elon Musk’s approval, suspended Ye (the rapper formerly known as Kanye West) on Thursday night from posting at Twitter after Ye tweeted what could be taken as either the symbol of the Raelian Movement or just a swastika inside a star of David, along with he message “YE24 LOVE EVERYONE #LOVESPEECH.” This action appears to fly in the face of Musk’s assurances that he is turning Twitter, long notorious for censorship, into a sanctuary for free speech.
The rationale for the suspension remains rather opaque, but it seems to be that Musk and Twitter viewed this post as inciting violence, which is prohibited under Twitter’s rules. If the basis is something else, hopefully Musk or Twitter management will soon provide an explanation.
“YE24” in the tweet, which is no longer viewable at Twitter, appears to be a reference to Ye running in the 2024 United States presidential contest. Suppose the image in the tweet is intended to represent, sans Raelianistic meaning, just the Hebrew Star of David and German National Socialist swastika mashed up. Then, the image, combined with the text accompanying it, seems likely to indicate that Ye extends love to people of all viewpoints — along the lines of “coexist” bumper stickers — and is flexing his love for speech by posting something that will jar people. (It is also possible that Ye jumbled his attempted communication.)
In contrast, the assertion that Ye was inciting violence through this tweet is preposterous. Yet, that is what Musk appears to have claimed Ye had done.
Musk defended Twitter’s suspension of Ye by posting at Twitter that Ye was suspended for “incitement to violence.” Really? While people have pointed to Ye lately accusing him of crazy talk, this comment by Musk really takes the cake. Musk, like his predecessors in charge of Twitter, would be flagrantly mischaracterizing what Ye did in the Twitter post by calling it incitement to violence. Why do that? Is the reason that Musk and the new Twitter management want to continue suspending and banning accounts based on their own biases, preferences, and whims while parading around as defenders of free speech?
It looks like the facade of the new Twitter as a defender of free speech is crumbling.