Twitter prohibits links to competing sites such as Instagram and Facebook

Twitter users will no longer be able to post links to certain rival social networks, including Facebook, Instagram and Mastodon, which the company called “banned platforms” on Sunday.

The latest decision by Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, is part of his desire to stifle certain speech. Last week, he suspended his Twitter account, @ElonJet, which tracked private jet flights.

“We know that many of our users may be active on other social media platforms. However, in the future, Twitter will no longer allow free promotion of specific social networks on its platform,” the company said in a statement.

Banned platforms include major websites such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as newer competitors such as Mastodon, Tribel, Nostr, Post and former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social. Twitter did not provide any explanation as to why it included these seven websites in the blacklist, but not others such as Talk, TikTok or LinkedIn.

Twitter also now bans third-party social media aggregator links like Linktree, which some people use to show where they can be reached on different social platforms.

Twitter had previously taken action against one of its competitors, Mastodon, after the company’s Twitter account commented on the controversy surrounding @ElonJet. Mastodon has grown rapidly in recent weeks, providing an alternative for Twitter users unhappy with Elon Musk’s redesign. After buying the company for $44 billion in late October, the businessman reinstated several accounts that had violated Twitter’s former leadership’s rules, including hateful behavior.

Some Twitter users have previously included links to new Mastodon profiles, encouraging their followers to find them on that platform. This kind of posting is now banned on Twitter, as are attempts to circumvent the new restrictions by typing “instagram dot com” after the username instead of linking directly to the website.

Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Journalists’ accounts have been suspended

On Wednesday, Mr. Musk permanently banned the @ElonJet account and changed Twitter rules to prohibit sharing real-time location without the person’s consent. He then took aim at journalists covering the story, claiming they were spreading “basically conspiracy coordinates”. The saga is still available on other sites including Mastodon, Facebook, Instagram and Truth Social.

Twitter last week temporarily suspended the accounts of many journalists covering the platform and its owner, some of whom worked for the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and VOA. Several of those accounts were later reinstated after an online request from Mr. Musk.

Taylor Lorenz of The Washington Post was also temporarily banned from his Twitter account over the weekend. The reporter said that he and another employee of the newspaper were looking for an article about Elon Musk. He tried to contact the billionaire, but his attempts went unanswered. He then tried to contact the businessman on Saturday, posting a message on Twitter that identified him and asked him for an interview.

The subject of the interview was not revealed in the tweet, but Ms Lorenz’s post referred to Elon Musk’s comments earlier in the week about an incident involving a “violent stalker” in Southern California. The billionaire appealed to the @ElonJet account to complain about journalists revealing the location of his family.

Taylor Lorenz, who checked Twitter later Saturday to see if she had received a response from Elon Musk, was notified that her account had been “permanently suspended.”

“I’m not going to say I didn’t expect it,” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Sunday, adding that he had not been given a specific reason for the suspension.

Washington Post editor-in-chief Sally Buzbee said in a written statement Sunday that “another Post reporter’s arbitrary suspension further undermines Elon Musk’s claim that he intends to make Twitter a platform dedicated to free expression.”

“Again, the suspension happened without warning, process or explanation — simply because our reporter asked Elon Musk for comment for the story,” Ms. Buzbee said. Post reporters should be reinstated immediately without arbitrary conditions.”

As of Sunday afternoon, Ms. Lorenz’s account appeared to have been restored, just as the tweet she said caused her suspension.

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