Through yet another controversial policy in a series of unwanted changes, Elon Musk’s Twitter abruptly prohibited users from promoting other social media platforms.
Sudden policy change
Earlier today, Twitter announced that it will suspend users who post usernames and links to their accounts on other social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Mastodon. The move was made to stop users from doing what Twitter calls “free promotion” of other social networking sites.
“Specifically, we will remove accounts created solely for the purpose of promoting other social platforms and content that contains links or usernames for the following platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Nostr and Post,” enumerated Twitter’s support account. Some of these social media accounts have been named as alternatives to Twitter.
Aside from links or usernames, Twitter also prohibited the use of third-party social media link aggregators like linktr.ee and lnk.bio, according to its Help Center blog post. Even attempts to circumvent the rules by posting screenshots or spelling out words in URLs will be deleted.
The bottomline is, users can’t promote what Twitter deems to be its competitors on Twitter. Or else, you’ll get your tweet deleted or even your account temporarily locked or suspended.
The new policy was quickly met with instant backlash from many users. Many criticized Elon Musk’s Twitter as “anti-free speech” and “anti-competitive.” Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also questioned the new policy with a simple reply of “Why?”
— jack (@jack) December 18, 2022
Actor Josh Gad likewise criticized the new policy for its many addendums on free speech.
Wow, for this “new and improved platform” that claims it’s biggest priority is Free Speech, there seem to be a LOT of asterisks as to what Free speech means. https://t.co/BBXKA9AzMc
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) December 18, 2022
Other social media platforms also reacted to Twitter’s new policy. Facebook tweeted a face with peeking eye emoji, while Tumblr quoted the announcement tweet with an “Oh.” Mastodon also quote-tweeted the announcement:
As a company from eastern Germany, we know that building a wall to try and keep people from leaving isn’t a good idea. https://t.co/jxlbO9s0Pk
— Mastodon (@Mastodon@mastodon.social) (@joinmastodon) December 18, 2022
The announcement tweet and post have been deleted from the official Twitter Support account and website. The platform has yet to issue a new statement.
UPDATE: The tweets by @TwitterSupport this morning, announcing a new policy banning linking to competing websites, have been deleted.
The policy itself was deleted from Twitter’s website.
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) December 19, 2022