The morning after billionaire edgelord Elon Musk officially took over Twitter, numerous media outlets and cable news networks breathlessly reported that rap superstar Kanye West’s Twitter account had been “reactivated” and made publicly “visible” again following a “suspension” over his antisemitic tweets.
The only problem with this is that West, who now goes by the name Ye, was never actually suspended by Twitter, and his account was never taken down.
Following Musk’s acquisition of the social-media giant on Thursday evening, which featured him firing multiple executives, it was reported that the Tesla founder has contemplated lifting all lifetime bans on Twitter accounts. This would conceivably result in former President Donald Trump—along with a host of right-wing provocateurs who’d been kicked off the platform—returning to Twitter.
Friday morning, meanwhile, saw a plethora of reports claiming West’s Twitter suspension had been lifted and was now active on the platform, suggesting that Musk intervened and restored his account.
“The Twitter account of Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, was publicly visible Friday morning—less than a day after Elon Musk completed his takeover of the company,” Axios reported, adding: “Axios could not independently verify that Twitter granted Ye access to his account, and it’s not clear if he has posting privileges.” (The Axios piece quietly changed its headline on Friday afternoon to “Ye’s Twitter account closely watched after Elon Musk takeover”.)
A Reuters article stated that West was “back on Twitter after suspension as Musk takes control of platform,” stating that the former billionaire had been “suspended for posting anti-Semitic remarks.”
While other outlets such as Bloomberg and The Independent also reported that West was “no longer suspended” and his “account was reactivated after Elon Musk’s takeover,” HuffPost eventually took down an article that claimed he was “reactivated” and replaced it with an editor’s note: “A HuffPost article previously at an associated link is no longer available on the site. It has been removed for an editorial standards issue.”
The Independent also soon changed up its original article, altering the headline to read, “Twitter won’t comment on future of Kanye West’s account after Elon Musk’s takeover,” and adding a new lead paragraph: “Twitter has not commented on the status of Kanye West‘s account amid unverified reports that he’d regained access after weeks of being locked out for posting antisemitic messages earlier this month.”
Meanwhile, Fox News and its sister channel Fox Business Network ran segments on Friday repeating this claim, with anchor Harris Faulkner even wondering if West’s tweet threatening to go “death con 3” on Jewish people was protected speech.
The one issue here is that West’s account was merely restricted for posting the antisemitic tweet earlier this month. That tweet, which came after Ye was similarly restricted at the time from Instagram for hate speech against Jewish people, was hidden by the social media platform for violating Twitter’s rules, and West was locked out of his account.
Musk, in fact, even said that he spoke with West shortly after he sent the tweet and “expressed” his concerns, which he claimed Ye “took to heart.”
According to Twitter’s policy, until West deleted the violating tweet he can only access his account in read-only mode and cannot publicly share any posts. At the same time, however, the account will remain visible, as will all of the tweets that did not violate the platform’s policies.
According to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, West’s Twitter account had been publicly visible as of two days ago. Additionally, since West was locked out of his account on Oct. 8, @kanyewest has continually been up on Twitter and does not appear to have been taken down in any way. A Twitter spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Similarities abound between this current situation and the Twitter chest-thumping right-wing pundits Tucker Carlson and Charlie Kirk engaged in earlier this year.
Shortly after it was announced that Musk would buy Twitter in April, the two quietly deleted anti-trans tweets that resulted in both of them being locked out of their accounts, despite claiming they’d never back down to Twitter. Instead, rather than admit they got rid of the offending posts, they both tried to suggest that Musk was responsible for their accounts being unlocked.