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Elon Musk deletes tweet that hinted at collaboration with Kanye West

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Tesla billionaire and potential Twitter owner Elon Musk appears to be teasing a possible business collaboration with Kanye West, despite the rapper’s recent antisemitic rants and attacks on George Floyd.

On Monday, Mr Musk shared a picture playing on the Dragon Ball anime series, where two characters can fuse together right into a more powerful being by touching fingers. In his version, the Tesla founder is edited onto one character, together with a Twitter logo, while West’s face is superimposed onto one other, with the brand of Parler, the right-wing social network West recently purchased.

“Fun times ahead!” Mr Musk wrote below the image.

Hours later, that very same tweet was deleted without comment from the Tesla chief executive.

The Independent has contacted representatives for Mr Musk, West, Twitter and Parler for comment.

The since-deleted post comes amid Mr Musk’s tumultous bid to purchase Twitter, which he revived in October after previously attempting to exit the deal, prompting a lawsuit from the social network to force the acquisition through.

The billionaire and the controversial rapper have known one another for a while.

West visited Mr Musk’s SpaceX aerospace enterprise way back to 2011, and the pair have occasionally been photographed together since.

Mr Musk even wrote in regards to the musician for TIME magazine’s 2015 TIME 100 list.

“Kanye’s belief in himself and his incredible tenacity — he performed his first single together with his jaw wired shut — got him to where he’s today. And he fought for his place within the cultural pantheon with a purpose,” the mogul wrote.

Observers worry that Mr Musk is in search of to roll back provisions limiting hate-speech and other violent comments on Twitter, in addition to reinstating Donald Trump’s access to the platform.

Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, a nonprofit media watchdog, said Mr Musk’s post-purchase plans for Twitter would turn the location right into a “supercharged engine of radicalisation”, given the Telsa billionaire’s public comments and leaked text messages about loosening speech restrictions on the location and potentially bringing back the previous president.

“Musk made it clear that he would roll back Twitters’ community standards and safety guidelines, reinstate Donald Trump together with scores of other accounts suspended for violence and abuse, and open the floodgates of disinformation,” Mr Carusone said. “In effect, Musk will turn Twitter right into a fever swamp of dangerous conspiracy theories, partisan chicanery, and operationalized harassment.”

Mr Musk’s since-deleted Monday post about West may further alarm critics.

Parler, which has at times been banned by Apple and Google multiple times, is popular with right-wing figures and their followers, and was used to spread conspiracy theories and coordinate violence ahead of the January 6 riots on the US Capitol.

The platform features fewer content rules than mainstream social networks.

West, who now goes by the name Ye, said he pursued the acquisition to spice up conservative speech.

“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial, now we have to be certain that now we have the appropriate to freely express ourselves,” West said in a press release.

Even after West used social media and a podcast appearance to spread a variety of deeply antisemitic tropes and comments, Mr Musk seemed wanting to engage with Ye, welcoming the rapper back to Twitter after he was locked out of his Instagram account for making antisemitic comments.

“Welcome back to Twitter, my friend!” the billionaire wrote on one in every of West’s posts criticising Mark Zuckerberg.

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