Twitter descended further into controversy on Sunday, announcing a new policy banning the promotion of some other social media sites–a move that comes after the company suspended several prominent journalists from its site and as other users have defected to competing networks.
Twitter will “no longer allow free promotion” of some social media sites on its network, the company’s support account tweeted Sunday.
The social media giant said it would remove posts that include links or usernames from Facebook, Instagram, Truth Social, Tribal, Nostr, Post and third-party link aggregators such as linktr.ee and lnk.bio.
Accounts that are used primarily to promote content on other social media platforms, or accounts that include violations of the policy in their bios or account name, will be suspended, Twitter said.
Twitter will continue to allow users to post content from other social media sites to its platform, even if the content is from one of the banned sites.
Some legal experts and journalists questioned whether the new policy could violate Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust regulations and the European Union’s gatekeeping rules that prohibit companies from unreasonably stifling competition.
Twitter’s new policy announcement comes after the site suspended the accounts of prominent journalists, including the Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz, along with reporters from The New York Times, MSNBC and CNN. Twitter owner Elon Musk said some of the reporters had violated the company’s policy against sharing people’s locations in real-time, and said Lorenz was banned for prior “doxxing,” a term that refers to the public airing of personal information and history about a person that often leads to online harassment and relentless trolling. Lorenz said she was suspended after she asked Musk for a comment regarding a story she is working on. Before she was suspended on Saturday, Lorenz shared a pinned tweet on her account that promoted her profiles on other social media sites, but removed the tweet when she was reinstated on Twitter on Sunday. Twitter also suspended an account run by rival social media platform Mastodon last week after it tweeted about the controversy surrounding the removal of an account, @ElonJet, that tracked the activity of Musk’s private jet. Twitter then began flagging and removing content that shared links to the site, which is growing in popularity among some high-profile Twitter users, including Lorenz. Several of the accounts, including Mastodon’s, have been reinstated.
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey questioned the company’s new policy on Sunday, Tweeting “why?” and “doesn’t make sense” in response to the announcement. Dorsey recently invested 14 bitcoin, equivalent to about $245,000, into Nostr, a new, decentralized social media platform that allows users to publish and send content to other servers. His bio includes “#nostr.” TikTok–which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance and has been scrutinized in recent weeks as a possible cybersecurity risk over fears that it could be used by the Chinese government to spy on users–was among the companies left out of the ban. Musk has developed a cozy relationship with China. Tesla’s largest factory is located in Shanghai and he has publicly praised China, while suggesting its people are harder-working and less entitled than Americans.
The policy was released as Musk attended the World Cup final in Qatar, where he was photographed sitting next to Jared Kushner, former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law who also worked as a senior adviser to Trump in the White House. Republicans have cheered Musk’s October Twitter takeover as Musk has made Twitter policy changes that cater to GOP priorities and publicly expressed opinions that align with the right. He advocated for Americans to vote for Republicans in the midterm election. He has reinstated the accounts of some prominent GOP members who were banned under previous ownership, including Trump, and he has loosened content moderation policies, lifting a ban on Covid-19 dis/misinformation. His release of internal Twitter documents that show how the company made content moderation decisions before he took over have also bolstered Republican talking points that Twitter unfairly suppressed content that appeals to their base.
$163.7 billion. That’s how much Forbes estimates Musk is worth, making him the second richest person in the world as of December 18, 2022.
Musk Bans Washington Post Journalist Taylor Lorenz From Twitter — Blaming ‘Prior Doxxing’ Behavior (Forbes)
Twitter Suspends Accounts For Rival Mastodon And Several High-Profile Journalists (Forbes)
Musk Flirts With QAnon: He Attacks Fauci, Roth In Latest Shift To The Right (Forbes)