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Kanye West challenges Mark Zuckerberg to boot him off Instagram - why hasn’t he?

·6-min read
Kanye West challenges Mark Zuckerberg to boot him off Instagram - why hasn’t he?

“You gonna take me off Instagram?”

That question, posed by Kanye West and directed at the platform’s overlord Mark Zuckerberg, seems to be top of mind for many after the disgruntled ex of Kim Kardashian went on a late-night rant attacking her and almost everyone else under the sun, including the likes of Hillary Clinton to the chief executive at Adidas.

In the flurry of since-deleted posts shared on Thursday night, the 45-year-old rapper, who legally changed his name to Ye last year, at one point shared a photo of a fake New York Times front page with the headline story reading: “Kasper Rørsted also dead at 60”, referring to the still alive CEO of Adidas.

At another, he turned his attention to former US secretary of state Ms Clinton and Meta CEO Mr Zuckerberg, asking point blank if the pair were going to boot him off the platform.

“iiiiiiiiiit’s uuuuuuup. Hilary and Mark are you blocking meeee :)” the “Flashing Lights” rapper began in the thread, before asking if Mr Zuckerberg had any plans for taking him off Instagram.

 (Instagram/@kanyewest)
(Instagram/@kanyewest)

While Ms Clinton has no control over who stays or goes on the social media platform, Mr Zuckerberg’s company did give the famed rapper a temporary 24-hour suspension back in the spring which prevented him from posting, commenting or sending messages in the allotted time period.

Back then, the “Jesus Walks” rapper had received the one-day boot from sharing on the platform after he’d made a post about Trevor Noah where he’d used racial slurs in reference to the South African comedian.

A spokesperson for Meta at the time told TMZ that the suspension arrived after the company had reviewed the post and saw that it was not in line with the platform’s policies on hate speech, harassment and bullying. That spokesperson also added that, should Ye’s posts in the future continue to violate the terms and conditions, the company would be prepared to take “additional steps”.

Kanye West Instagram post (kanyewest/ Instagram screenshot)
Kanye West Instagram post (kanyewest/ Instagram screenshot)

The Independent reached out to Meta for comment on the late-night thread from the American artist and fashion designer about the since-deleted posts.

Part of what prompted the feud between the Daily Show host and Ye came from the very topic of concern that Instagram and Facebook’s policies on use purport to protect against: that is bullying.

The ban-inducing post from Ye was responding to Noah’s March segment, during which the comedian tore into the 45-year-old rapper for continuing to harass his ex-wife, Kardashian, who filed for divorce from her then-husband in February of last year.

“It’s spun into a story that seems fully tabloid, but I think deserves a little more awareness from the general public. … I know everyone thinks it’s a big marketing stunt,” Noah began in the segment. “Two things can be true: Kim likes publicity. Kim is also being harassed. Those things can be happening at the same time.”

The rapper has since deleted last night’s latest attack, though the contents of it are still prominently on view for the masses, having been screenshot and circulated by dozens of news outlets.

And while the terms and conditions on Instagram have, at times, drawn the criticism of online safety experts for being obscure in how the punishments for violating the policies are doled out, with Ye’s recent suspension and foreboding warning issued in the springtime it appears they are, at the very least, aware that his posts have crossed into a territory that could warrant a full-blown block.

“Can you please stop?” Kardashian said in a screenshotted post shared by Ye in the late-night thread, which he responded by posting a popcorn emoji with the words: “No. We need to talk in person. You don’t have say so of where the kids go to school. Why you get say say? Cause you half white?”

 (Instagram/@kanyewest)
(Instagram/@kanyewest)

Ye also went on to stir up squabbles with some of his old familiars, such as Kardashian’s recent ex, Pete Davidson, and her mother, Kris Jenner.

In one message about Davidson, Ye wrote: “Ask Pete how those tattoos of my kids doing in the trauma unit,” while in another post he shared a screenshotted text message from his former mother-in-law, relayed through his ex-wife: Kardashian “From my mom – PLEASE tell him to please stop mentioning my name. I’m almost 67 years old and I don’t always feel great and this stresses me to no end.”

Though it’s not common for famous figures to get the death-knell on their Facebook and Instagram accounts, it has happened before and Ye’s conduct on the platform in recent months places him as a likely candidate to get his name added to that very short list.

Former kickboxer and social media influencer Andrew Tate were one of the more recent examples of toxic personalities online to get removed from not just Facebook and Instagram, but also YouTube and TikTok for airing “misogynistic” and dangerous views.

YouTube said Andrew Tate had been removed because of ‘multiple violations’ of the platform’s community guidelines and terms of service (Channel 5/PA) (PA Media)
YouTube said Andrew Tate had been removed because of ‘multiple violations’ of the platform’s community guidelines and terms of service (Channel 5/PA) (PA Media)

Twitter had already removed Mr Tate from the platform back in 2017, after he’d suggested in a tweet that women should “bare some responsibility” for being sexual assaulted.

Meta justified the deplatforming of the viral social media star under the terms of the company’s dangerous individuals and groups, which stipulates that the platform will not “allow organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence to have a presence on Facebook”.

Donald Trump famously met a similar fate back in 2021, when the company’s Oversight Board determined that the one-term president would be suspended from the platform until 7 January 2023, with the asterisk that he would only be reinstated if the “risk to public safety has receded.”

That ban arrived after the president had taken to the social media platform to share a video after the 6 January 2021 Capitol riot where he asked supporters to leave the violent insurrection, but only after taking the opportunity to tell them: “We love you, you’re very special.”

At that time, the company’s founder and often silent chief executive took the moment to explain the reasoning behind the banning of a prominent figure, stating: “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.”

Though Mr Zuckerberg has not publicly addressed Ye’s conduct on his platforms, he has acknowledged in other interviews that he believes that his moderators process for determining who should stay and go to be fair.

While speaking with Joe Rogan on his podcast recently, the Meta founder defended his company’s decision to ban a story circulated by The New York Post about Hunter Biden’s laptop, noting that it was regrettable but ultimately said the choice to limit the story’s reach was “pretty reasonable.”

“I think the right way is to establish principles for governance that try to be balanced and not having the decision-making too centralised,” Mr Zuckerberg said during the interview on the Spotify giant’s podcast. “It’s hard for people to accept that some team at Meta or that I personally am making these decisions.”