What you need to know
- Twitter temporarily banned all links to third-party social networking sites like Facebook and Mastodon.
- Shortly after announcing the policy, Twitter deleted its tweets and the policy page pertaining to the ban.
- Elon Musk apologized for the abrupt decision and said major policy changes would be put to a vote moving forward.
Twitter immediately removed a tweet announcing the platform’s ban on free promotion of rival social networking sites, which could have resulted in the suspension of accounts that link out their handles on rival services.
Elon Musk’s Twitter announced on Sunday that users would no longer be able to include links to their profiles on other social media platforms in their bio. Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Post, and Nostr were all affected, as were third-party social media link aggregators like linktr.ee and lnk.bio. The policy came a few weeks after internet giants like Google created an account on Mastodon.
In addition, the short-lived policy prohibited users from posting tweets containing their usernames or handles on the banned platforms, even without the corresponding links. Anyone who violated this policy risked having their account suspended temporarily, or even permanently for repeat offenders.
A few hours after announcing the policy, Twitter deleted the tweets and webpages pertaining to it (you can find the cached version here (opens in new tab)). Meanwhile, the Twitter Safety account created a poll asking the public if the company should set rules prohibiting the “use of existing accounts for the main purpose of advertising other social media platforms.”
Should we have a policy preventing the creation of or use of existing accounts for the main purpose of advertising other social media platforms?December 19, 2022
In a separate poll, Musk asked users if he should step down (opens in new tab) as head of Twitter, promising to abide by the results of the voting. The poll is gaining more yays than nays as of this writing. He also tweeted that any major policy changes would be put to a vote moving forward, and then apologized for what seemed like an abrupt decision (opens in new tab).
In response to a user who was displeased by the policy, Musk clarified that this will be adjusted (opens in new tab) to only suspend accounts created solely for the purpose of promoting alternative social networks.
The policy was implemented following a string of account suspensions on several Twitter users, the majority of whom were journalists covering Musk (via TechCrunch (opens in new tab)). This includes The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, who tweeted about @ElonJet, which was suspended presumably for tracking Musk’s private jet’s location. Mac’s account was later restored.