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Kanye West is pictured in May in Los Angeles.
X, formerly known as Twitter, has reinstated Kanye West’s account on the social media platform. West will not be able to monetize his account, and no ads will appear next to his posts, the company told the Wall Street Journal on Saturday.
The musician’s account was suspended in December for violating the platform’s rules on inciting violence. The suspension followed multiple antisemitic comments made by West – who has legally changed his name to Ye – including a threat to “Go death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.” Those statements led to a swift disintegration of multiple business deals, including partnerships with Adidas and luxury fashion house Balenciaga.
Although CNN at the time was unable to determine which tweet had been the final straw, the day before his suspension West tweeted an altered image of the Star of David with a swastika inside.
Twitter has long been embroiled in questions surrounding moderation, with the platform’s CEO Elon Musk describing himself as a “free speech absolutist.” After agreeing to buy the company last October, he said Twitter would “be very reluctant to delete things” and “be very cautious with permanent bans.”
But after West was suspended, Musk tweeted “I tried my best. Despite that, he again violated our rule against incitement to violence.”
In April, Twitter’s safety team launched a new content enforcement strategy called “Freedom of Speech, Not Reach,” which focused on “restricting the reach of Tweets that violate our policies by making the content less discoverable.”
This approach, in part, requires the team to “proactively prevent ads from appearing adjacent to content” labeled as violative.
In an update earlier this month, the safety team reported that these labeled tweets “receive 81% less reach or impressions” than non-restricted ones, and that “more than 99.99% of Tweet impressions are from … content that does not violate our rules.”
Twitter’s Violent Speech Policy prohibits inciting and glorifying violence, wishing harm on other people, and threatening others. But it makes some exceptions, including for “figures of speech, satire, or artistic expression when the context is expressing a viewpoint rather than instigating actionable violence or harm.”
“We make sure to evaluate and understand the context behind the conversation before taking action,” the policy states, adding that if a user believes their account was wrongfully suspended, they can submit an appeal.
It’s not clear whether West submitted an appeal, or if something else prompted his account’s reactivation. The musician has yet to post on the platform. CNN has reached out to Twitter and a representative for West but has not received a response.