Twitter briefly banned links and username mentions relating to Facebook, Instagram and other rivals

As many people took to Twitter on Sunday to follow the progress of the World Cup final, the company introduced a new policy prohibiting the “gratuitous promotion” of competing social media websites. Twitter said it would remove links to Facebook, Instagram, MastodonTribel, Post, Nostr and The social truth of Donald Trump from accounts whose “primary purpose” is to promote content on these platforms.

Users were told they could no longer use their Twitter bio to link to their other social media profiles, or post tweets inviting their followers to follow them elsewhere. Additionally, the company has restricted the use of third-party aggregators such as Linktree and Link.bio. Twitter warned that users who attempt to circumvent the new policy using technical means such as URL masking or less advanced methods will be found to be in violation of the policy.

However, as the Twitter community accepted the rule change, its CEO had another change of heart. Within hours, tweets announcing the new policy, along with the support page outlining the details of its application, have been deleted and replaced by a poll asking for: “should we have a policy preventing the creation or use of existing accounts for the primary purpose of advertising for other social media platforms?” At the time of this writing, the “No” option held 86.9% of the vote.

Prior to the removal, the support page described two exceptions to its new rule. “We recognize that certain social media platforms provide alternative experiences to Twitter and allow users to post content to Twitter from those platforms,” ​​the company said. “In general, any type of cross-posting on our platform is not in violation of 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 violate the new policy would be temporarily locked if it was their first violation or “an isolated incident”. The company may also have deleted the offending tweets. “Any subsequent violation will result in a permanent suspension,” Twitter added. The company said it will temporarily lock accounts that add the offending links to their bios. Multiple violations “may result in permanent suspension,” he added.

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 has spoken out in favor of Musk’s takeover, said he was done with Twitter after the rule change and told his more than 1.5 million followers to find him on Mastodon. . Twitter then suspended Graham’s accountonly to bring it back soon after.

The politics 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 they couldn’t access their Twitter accounts. Most of the accounts had either talked about Jack Sweeney or his ElonJet accountwho was banned for violating the company’s recently announced policy against public position sharing. While Twitter later reinstated the accounts of these journalists, on Saturday, he abruptly suspended the account of Washington Post journalist Taylor Lorenz. At the time of his suspension, Lorenz had only three posts in 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 at that time Twitter’s policy against linking to competing platforms did not exist and nowhere in his new rule mentions Google’s video service. .

Updated: 12/19 at 4:02 a.m. ET: Article updated to include reversal of policy change.

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