Twitter temporarily bans linking to Facebook, Instagram, and Mastodon

A ban on linking to competing services on Twitter was apparently withdrawn hours later. Now Elon Musk wants to know if he should remain CEO.

After a tumultuous weekend, Twitter was temporarily banned from linking to accounts on certain social networks — including Facebook, Instagram, and Mastodon — as of Sunday night. After severe criticism on and off the platform, the rule change has now apparently been withdrawn, and the announcement and the page in the rules have disappeared. Meanwhile, links to accounts on Twitter competitor Mastodon still cannot be tweeted. If this is attempted, an error message will still appear.

Twitter boss Elon Musk explained that the rules would be adjusted to only block accounts whose main purpose is to promote competitors. He later began a poll on whether he should remain CEO.

As the Twitter rules meanwhile stated, the service wanted to remove all unpaid advertising for certain social networks. Facebook, Instagram, and the increasingly popular Mastodon were listed as banned, as well as ex-US President Donald Trump’s Truth Social and services called Tribel, Post, and Nostr.

The Chinese services TikTok and WeChat were not listed, as were portals popular with right-wing and right-wing extremists such as Parler. But it hit Nostr, a self-described “really censorship-resistant Twitter alternative” that Twitter founder Jack Dorsey donated over 200,000 US dollars just a few days ago, as Coindesk reports. In the meantime, the linking ban is no longer listed in Twitter’s rules.

After Twitter made the linking ban public, there was unanimous criticism, which Musk himself was quoted. He tweeted in early June that “the acid test for two competing socioeconomic systems is which side needs to build a wall to keep people from fleeing.” That’s the bad one then.

It was also pointed out that the linking ban might violate the Digital Markets Act of the European Union. At the same time, it appeared that Twitter’s new rules were directed primarily against the alternative Mastodon, which has recently been growing stronger again. Those who leave Twitter often spread a link to their Mastodon account there, which some Internet services can automatically find and assign.

Musk himself has meanwhile written on Twitter that the “occasional sharing” of links is fine, but not the “relentless promotion of competitors” for which no payment is made. Musk does not write why the new rule was first made public and then apparently tacitly withdrawn. Instead, he has again started a Twitter poll to ask if he should step down as head of Twitter. He will stick to the survey, he assures. He does not mention a timetable. A month ago he had already announced that he wanted to appoint a new management team after the microblogging service had been realigned. So far he hasn’t found anyone who wants to take on the job, he tweeted.

The back-and-forth over linking other social networks followed Sunday’s altercation over a Twitter account that publicized the whereabouts of Musk’s private jet. That was blocked, as were the accounts of several well-known journalists who reported on it.

Musk justified the suspension with the allegation that the announcement of the plane’s position posed a danger to him and his family. According to the Washington Post, there was no connection to the aircraft tracker in a stalking incident made known by Musk. Mastodon’s Twitter account was also temporarily blocked. The much-criticized bans, with the exception of ElonJet, have now been lifted, but the events make it clear how dependent the platform is on the sensitivities of the new boss.

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