Twitter (Briefly) Disallows Promotion of Rivals

New policy is deleted, replaced with a poll asking users their opinion on it
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2022 5:15 PM CST
Twitter Disallows Links to Instagram, Other Rivals
This combination of photos shows logos for social media platforms Facebook and Twitter.   (AP Photo/File)
UPDATE Dec 18, 2022 5:15 PM CST

Once again, a new Twitter policy has been swiftly rescinded. On Sunday, the platform said it would no longer let users promote accounts on rival platforms. But after what CNN describes as an "immense backlash," Twitter removed the blog post and tweet thread announcing the new policy. Instead, it is polling users with the question, "Should we have a policy preventing the creation of or use of existing accounts for the main purpose of advertising other social media platforms?" The poll closes Monday.

Dec 18, 2022 5:15 PM CST

Twitter announced Sunday that it will no longer let its users promote their accounts on certain competing social media sites, including Facebook and Instagram. The company said it will move against offending users "at both the tweet level and the account level," the Verge reports. The new policy says tweets promoting accounts on the prohibited sites may be taken down if users urge Twitter followers to join them on other platforms, per the Washington Post. The change means users can't have links to their profiles on other social networks in their Twitter bio or send tweets directing people to their accounts on Instagram or Facebook.

The sites affected include Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Nostr, and Post. So far, Telegram, TikTok, YouTube, Weibo, Parler, Gab, and OnlyFans are not included. The reasons some sites are blacklisted and some aren't was not made clear, per the Verge. But many high-profile Twitter users have been promoting alternate accounts since Musk took over the site, sometimes suggesting his current and future changes are driving them away. "Twitter should be easy to use, but no more relentless free advertising of competitors," new owner Elon Musk wrote Sunday. "No traditional publisher allows this and neither will Twitter." The company did not respond to requests for elaboration, per NBC News, which called it Musk's biggest change to Twitter yet.

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Twitter said the policy applies to accounts being "used for the main purpose of promoting content on another social platform." Twitter already was blocking all links to Mastodon, a competitor. Attempts to tweet a link results in an error message saying the link has been identified "as being potentially harmful." A former Facebook chief security officer tweeted that you can tell lawyers were included in Musk's staff cuts. "This is the clearest declaration of weakness I’ve ever seen from a major US tech platform," Alex Stamos said, "and a transparent declaration of anticompetitive intent" that a corporate general counsel normally would try to head off. (More Twitter stories.)

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