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Twitter says Kanye West violated its rules with tweet of journalist's phone number

Publishing personal details such as a home address or a phone number is a common type of online harassment known as doxxing. It is against Twitter’s rules.
Image: Kanye West
Kanye West arrives at the Dries Van Noten Ready-to-Wear Spring-Summer show at Grand Palais in Paris in September 2014.Sophie Mhabille / Abaca/Sipa via AP file

Twitter said Wednesday that rapper and long-shot presidential candidate Kanye West violated the platform's rules by tweeting the phone number of a magazine editor.

The tweet was no longer available about an hour after West sent it from his verified Twitter account early Wednesday afternoon. It wasn’t immediately clear if Twitter removed the tweet, or if West deleted it at Twitter’s request, but the tweet was replaced by a note saying it had violated the Twitter rules.

In the tweet, West had urged his fans to call the editor of Forbes magazine, and he included a screenshot of a phone number he said belonged to the editor.

Publishing personal details such as a phone number or home address is a common type of online harassment known as doxxing. Twitter and most other online services ban the practice as a violation of privacy.

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the tweet was in violation of the rule but did not elaborate.

A representative for West declined to comment. Matthew Hutchison, chief communications officer at Forbes, did not comment on West’s tweet but said that the company wishes him the best.

The tweet directed at the journalist was among dozens of tweets West sent in a short period Wednesday addressing a variety of subjects including music-related business contracts. West has bipolar disorder, a mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy and activity levels. Both he and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, have spoken about his struggles with the disorder.

West has had a tumultuous relationship with Twitter, once quitting the social media platform for more than a year.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Twitter had frozen West’s account, which is part of its stated policy for violating its rules. West’s most recent tweet was at 1:39 p.m. ET.

Twitter’s rule says: “The first time you violate this policy, we will require you to remove this content. We will also temporarily lock you out of your account before you can Tweet again. If you violate this policy again after your first warning, your account will be permanently suspended.”

West, who has won 21 Grammy awards for his music, has spent about $5.9 million on his quixotic presidential campaign through August, almost all of it his own money. His name is currently on the ballot in a handful of states including Colorado and Iowa.