Twitter on Wednesday removed a post by Kanye West that shared personal information about a Forbes editor. Still, the tweet was up long enough to garner about 17,000 retweets.
West, the rapper who at times appears to post a stream of consciousness on Twitter, called Forbes’ chief content officer a white supremacist and shared his phone number, which is against Twitter’s policies. As a result, the social media site removed the tweet, leaving the note “This Tweet is no longer available” in its place.
But Twitter had left the post in place for about 30 minutes before determining it violated policy, according to Business Insider. The Forbes editor targeted in the post, Randall Lane, wrote about West in early July following a long-ranging interview that covered everything from West’s bid for president to.
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the tweet’s removal for sharing private information but declined to provide information about the timeline for removing the tweet. A Forbes spokesman said everyone at Forbes expresses empathy for West. West didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Twitter’s move made West the second president candidate — after President Donald J. Trump — to have a post affected because of violation of the social network’s policies. In June, Twitter first removed a video posted by Trump due to a copyright complaint after labeling the tweet as “manipulated media.” Then in July, it removed an image and aover copyright complaints. It has labeled other Trump tweets as misleading or containing manipulated media, including as recent as Wednesday.
West has long been one of the most vocal users of Twitter, broadcasting thoughts to his 30.9 million followers. Hebut soon returned to the platforms. Earlier this year, he talked about his diagnosis for bipolar disorder, and in July, he said he’s running for president. He made the move too late to be on the ballot in some states and is viewed as a long shot compared to President Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
Meanwhile, Twitter and other social media outlets have been struggling to figure out how to prevent misinformation on their sites, particularly when it comes to people like President Trump. Misinformation on social media is nothing new. Russian agents tried to sway the 2016 US presidential election with divisive tweets and Facebook posts. Message board chatter about “Pizzagate,” a conspiracy theory that falsely accused Hillary Clinton and others of operating a child sex ring out of a restaurant, led to gunfire in Washington, DC. Hoaxes, often disguised as legitimate news, have spread far and fast, thanks to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as 4chan, 8kun and other anonymous message boards.
But social media’s inability to contain the explosion of misinformation takes on new urgency as the novel coronavirus pandemic ravages the globe, as Black citizens call for better application of justice in the US and as the country gears up for the presidential election on Nov. 3. The role of Twitter and Facebook in spreading news in real time without any checks makes them particularly vulnerable to manipulation.