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Twitter CEO Elon Musk faced backlash Sunday after the platform rolled out a new policy that bans users from promoting their other social media accounts on different platforms.
The move by the company comes as Musk has faced some criticism for temporarily suspending several left-wing journalists last week for engaging in doxxing.
“We recognize that many of our users are active on other social media platforms. However, we will no longer allow free promotion of certain social media platforms on Twitter,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
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.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) December 18, 2022
The company said that it would “remove any free promotion of prohibited 3rd-party social media platforms, such as linking out (i.e. using URLs) … or providing your handle without a URL” to the aforementioned platforms or to “3rd-party social media link aggregators such as linktr.ee, lnk.bio.”
“Additionally, any attempts to bypass restrictions on external links to the above prohibited social media platforms through technical or non-technical means (e.g. URL cloaking, plaintext obfuscation) is in violation of this policy,” the statement continued. “This includes, but is not limited to, spelling out ‘dot’ for social media platforms that use ‘.’ in the names to avoid URL creation, or sharing screenshots of your handle on a prohibited social media platform.”
The statement said that cross-posting from other platforms is not in violation of the policy, including from the sites that were listed. The company said that it would allow people to pay to promote their social media accounts on other platforms.
If a user violates the rules, Twitter will require that they delete the tweet(s) that violates the policy and they may temporarily suspend the account. If subsequent violations occur the account will be permanently banned.
The reaction to the news was overwhelmingly negative online with some noting that the timing of the release during the World Cup indicating that the company knew that the policy would not be well received thus they tried to bury it.
Certainly not in line with “free speech absolutism” https://t.co/hUPvPjYV1H
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) December 18, 2022
Interesting how Elon Musk is blocking Donald Trump’s social network but not Xi Jinping’s social network. https://t.co/iCCQ4y3CQt
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) December 18, 2022
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) December 18, 2022
"Don't forget you're here forever"
Twitter was broken before, Twitter is still broken, Elon has some really bad policies
But you know what?
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) December 18, 2022
It took about 6 weeks for elon to go from free speech absolutist to outright banning users from posting links to other social media platforms. https://t.co/RONTswlYlK
— Andrew Kerr (@AndrewKerrNC) December 18, 2022