As many people took to Twitter on Sunday to watch the World Cup final unfold, the company inserted a new policy that prohibits the “free promotion” of competing social networking websites. Twitter said it would remove links to Facebook, Instagram, MastodonTribal, Post, Nostr and The social truth of Donald Trump of accounts whose “primary purpose” is to promote content on those platforms.
Users were told they could no longer use their Twitter bio to link to their other social media profiles, nor post tweets inviting their followers to follow them elsewhere. Additionally, the company restricted the use of third-party aggregators such as Linktree and Link.bio. Twitter warned that users who try to circumvent the new policy using technical means such as URL cloaking or less advanced methods will violate the policy.
However, when the Twitter community came to terms with the rule change, its CEO had another change of heart. Within hours, tweets announcing the new policy, plus the support page outlining the details of its application, they were eliminated and replaced with a poll asking: “Should we have a policy that prevents existing accounts from being created or used for the primary purpose of advertising other social media platforms?” At the time of writing, the “No” option had a commanding share of 86.9 percent of the vote.
Should we have a policy that prevents existing accounts from being created or used for the primary purpose of advertising other social media platforms?
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) December 19, 2022
Before the removal, the support page described two exceptions to their new rule. “We recognize that certain social media platforms provide alternative experiences to Twitter and allow users to post content to Twitter from these platforms,” the company said. “In general, any type of cross-posting on our platform does not violate this policy, even from the prohibited sites listed above.” Additionally, Twitter said it would continue to allow paid promotion for any of the platforms on its new banned list.
According to Twitter, accounts that violated the new policy would be temporarily blocked if it was their first offense or “an isolated incident.” The company may have removed offensive tweets as well. “Any subsequent offense will result in a permanent suspension,” Twitter added. The company indicated that it would temporarily block accounts that add the offending links in their bios. Multiple violations “can result in a permanent suspension,” he added.
— AlexisOhanian7️⃣7️⃣6️⃣ (@alexisohanian) December 18, 2022
Twitter quickly began enforcing the policy shortly after it was announced. At 2:17 p.m. ET, Paul Graham, the founder of startup accelerator Y Combinator and someone who supported the Musk acquisition, said he was done with Twitter following the rule change, telling his more than 1.5 million followers followers to find him at Mastodon. . twitter then suspended Graham’s accountonly to bring it back soon after.
The policy comes after another messy week on Twitter. On December 15, a handful of notable journalists, including NBC’s Ben Collins and CNN’s Donnie O’Sullivan, discovered that couldn’t access their twitter accounts. Most of the accounts had talked about Jack Sweeney or his ElonJet accountwhich was banned for violating the company’s recently announced policy against share public location. While Twitter later refunded the accounts of those reporters, on Saturday abruptly suspended the account of Washington Post journalist taylor lorenz. At the time of his suspension, Lorenz only had three posts to his name, one of which was a tweet to Musk asking him to comment on an upcoming story. Another of his posts linked to his YouTube channel, but Twitter’s policy against linking to competing platforms did not exist at the time, and nowhere in its new rule does it mention Google’s video service.
Update: 12/19 at 4:02 am ET: Article updated to include reversal of policy change.
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