Twitter prohibits linking to Facebook, Instagram and other competitors

(AP) – Twitter users will no longer be able to link to certain competing social media sites, including what the company on Sunday described as “banned platforms” Facebook, Instagram and Mastodon.

It’s the latest move by Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk to crack down on certain speeches after he shut down a Twitter account tracking his private jet’s flights last week.

“We know that many of our users may be active on other social media platforms; However, going forward, Twitter will no longer allow free advertising for certain social media platforms on Twitter,” the company said in a statement.

Banned platforms include mainstream websites like Facebook and Instagram, as well as former President Donald Trump’s rising rivals Mastodon, Tribel, Nostr, Post and Truth Social. Twitter didn’t provide an explanation as to why the blacklist included those seven sites but not others like Parler, TikTok, or LinkedIn.

Twitter said it will at least temporarily ban accounts that have the blocked websites on their profile. But the practice is so widespread that it’s not clear if — or how — the company will enforce the restrictions on the millions of Twitter users around the world.

Twitter also prohibits advertising for third-party social media link aggregators like Linktree, which some people use to show where to find them on different websites.

Twitter has previously taken action to block links to one of its rivals, Mastodon, after its main Twitter account tweeted about the @ElonJet controversy last week. Mastodon has grown rapidly in recent weeks as an alternative for Twitter users unhappy with Musk’s overhaul of Twitter since he bought the company for $44 billion in late October and began restoring accounts that flouted the rules the previous Twitter leadership violated hateful behavior and other harms.

Some Twitter users have included links to her new Mastodon profile, encouraging followers to find her there. It’s now banned on Twitter, as are attempts to circumvent restrictions by, for example, writing “instagram dot com” and a username instead of a direct website link.

Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday. Twitter said it will continue to allow “paid advertising/promotion” from the otherwise banned platforms, as well as “cross-posting” of some content originating from the banned sites.

Musk permanently suspended the @ElonJet account on Wednesday and then changed Twitter’s rules to prohibit sharing someone’s current location without their consent. He then targeted journalists who wrote about the jet-tracking account, which can still be found on other sites like Mastodon, Facebook, Instagram and Truth Social, claiming that they were “basically broadcasting coordinates of assassinations.”

In doing so, he justified Twitter’s moves last week to suspend the accounts of numerous journalists covering the social media platform and Musk, including reporters working for the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Voice of America and others publications work. Many of these accounts have been recovered following an online poll conducted by Musk.

Then, over the weekend, The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz became the youngest journalist to be temporarily banned from Twitter.

Lorenz said she and another Post-Tech reporter were researching for an article on Musk. She had tried to communicate with the billionaire, but the attempts went unanswered, so she attempted to contact him on Saturday, posting a message on Twitter tagging Musk and requesting an interview.

The specific topic was not disclosed in the tweet, although it was a response to Musk’s tweet earlier in the week about an alleged incident involving a “violent stalker” in Southern California and Musk’s claims that journalists were revealing his family’s whereabouts, by referring to the jet. tracker account.

When she came back later on Saturday to check if there was a response on Twitter, Lorenz received a notification that her account was “permanently suspended.”

“I’m not going to say I didn’t expect it,” Lorenz said in a phone interview with The Associated Press early Sunday. She said she was not given a specific reason for the ban.

Sally Buzbee, editor-in-chief of the Washington Post, said in a written statement Sunday that “the arbitrary suspension of another Post journalist further undermines Elon Musk’s claim that he intends to operate Twitter as a platform for free speech.”

“Again, the suspension came without warning, trial or explanation – this time our reporter simply solicited comment from Musk for a story,” Buzbee said. “Post journalists should be reinstated immediately, with no arbitrary strings attached.”

By midday Sunday, Lorenz’s account was restored, as was the tweet she believed triggered her suspension.