Twitter Bans Promoting Social Media Competitors

Twitter announced on Sunday that it will begin punishing users who promote competing social media platforms ― the company’s latest controversial move as people leave the platform en masse in response to self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” Elon Musk’s takeover as CEO.

“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 Twitter Support account tweeted. “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.

“We still allow cross-posting content from any social media platform,” it continued. “Posting links or usernames to social media platforms not listed above are also not in violation of this policy.”

The policy also applies to third-party social media link aggregators like linktr.ee, which creators often use to promote their content and small business. Musk already suspended Mastodon’s account on Twitter last week.

Many of the social media companies listed in Twitter’s new list of prohibited platforms are sites that an increasing number of users have announced they’re flocking to, after Musk’s messy takeover at Twitter has resulted in erratic policy changes that are largely determined by how the billionaire feels that day. Musk’s decisions have included censoring his critics, stoking violence, amplifying extremists, spreading disinformation and propping up the Republican Party during the election.

Twitter said that it will remove any free promotion of the mentioned prohibited platforms “at both the Tweet level and the account level,” including URL attachments and providing a social media handle without a URL. Any efforts to bypass those restrictions ― such as sharing screenshots of one’s handle or spelling out “dot” for social platforms that use a period in order to avoid creating a URL ― is also in violation of the new policy.

Twitter said the punishment for isolated incidents or a user’s first violation will range from requiring tweet deletion to temporarily locking accounts. Any subsequent violations will result in being permanently banned. If a violation is included in a user’s bio or account name, Twitter will temporarily suspend the account and require profile changes ― although subsequent violations of this could also result in being permanently banned.

This means that users will be punished if they tell their followers to find them on another platform or announce their handle on another platform ― something users are increasingly doing as they leave Twitter amid Musk’s behavior. Banning users from announcing their move to another platform will make it more difficult for people to gain a following on a site that’s not Twitter.

Musk’s decision to silence any promotion of his competitors comes just days after he suddenly suspended several prominent tech journalists from major media outlets. The CEO claimed he was being doxxed when some of the journalists posted links to a site that tracks his flights.

Although he reinstated the accounts of some of the journalists on Friday after intense backlash, he suspended Washington Post tech journalist Taylor Lorenz on Saturday after the reporter ― who focuses much of her coverage on internet culture ― requested comment from Musk for a story she was working on.

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