Twitter said it will no longer allow users to promote other social media accounts on its platform, according to a thread of tweets that the company shared on Sunday. Numerous users had been promoting their other social media accounts on Twitter since Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of the company in October 2022.
The company stated,
“We recognize that many of our users are active on other social media platforms,” the company said. “However, we will no longer allow free promotion of certain social media platforms on Twitter.”
Twitter stated that it will continue to permit cross-posting from various platforms; however, tweeting messages such as “follow me @username on Instagram” or “firstname.lastname@example.org” now constitutes a policy violation.
The new rules also prohibit posting to third-party link aggregators like linktr.ee and lnk.bio.
Users may be required to delete their offensive tweets if they break this new policy. Twitter stated that accounts may also be temporarily locked or suspended. The organization will eliminate accounts that attempt to get around the guidelines by posting screen shots of their other accounts or illuminating words like “dot.”
Meanwhile, Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted on Sunday that the new policy “doesn’t make sense.”
Paul Graham, a prominent venture capitalist, tweeted a link to his website announcing that he would rather be posting on Mastodon following the announcement of Twitter’s new promotion policy.
He wrote, “This is the last straw.” But unfortunately, he had his account suspended by Twitter hours later.
Graham, who is frequently a vocal supporter of Musk, established the accelerator and venture capital firm Y Combinator. Sunday evening, Musk sent two tweets stating that Graham’s account would be restored, and it was promptly reinstated.
“Going forward, there will be a vote for major policy changes,” Musk said. “My apologies. Won’t happen again.” Musk was tweeting from Doha, where he had attended the World Cup final alongside Jared Kushner, among others.
Twitter carried out a number of controversial suspensions earlier in the week as a result of recent changes to its policy on “doxxing,” which the company defines as the “sharing someone’s private information online without their permission.”
Users are not allowed to share live location information, home addresses, contact information, or physical location information under the new policy. Numerous journalists who had been reporting on Musk and his companies were suspended as a result of the changes.
The Digital Democracy Project’s director, Alex Howard, added that if Twitter’s “extraordinary new restrictions continue,” institutions will “be forced off the sidelines.”
“These policy changes, today, combined with hostility to press and bans this past week are significant, historic and should inform the ongoing stance of media, tech and academia along with governments”.
On Twitter, Musk, who is also the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, has been open about his efforts to safeguard free speech. He said at the beginning of November that Sweeney’s account, which he called a “direct personal safety risk,” would not be banned because he was such a strong supporter of free speech. Sweeney was tracking his plane.
While the accounts of many of the journalists who had been suspended were reactivated on Saturday December 18, Business Insider’s Linette Lopez remains suspended.
Taylor Lorenz of The Washington Post was also suspended by Twitter late on Saturday night; however, her account was reactivated on Sunday afternoon. In a tweet, Musk said that Lorenz was suspended for a while because of a “prior doxxing action.” However, she had also posted recently with links to other social media accounts.
Howard of Digital Democracy stated that Twitter has always been shaped by its users rather than its administrators, but that the platform’s most recent changes will influence its future.
“Since 2006, Twitter has acted as an information utility, along with a news browser, organizing tool, office watercooler, social network and global platform for protests, campaigns and lies that fueled an insurrection”
“The emergent behavior we see in reaction to the past week of changes will shape what Twitter will be in 2023, and to whom.”