Twitter will no longer allow users to promote their accounts on at least seven other major social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Truth Social, the platform announced Sunday.
The new policy comes after many users recently began posting links to their accounts on other sites following Elon Musk’s takeover as CEO of Twitter and the platform’s subsequent reinstatement of far-right accounts, suspension of journalists and mass firings.
“We recognize that many of our users are active on other social media platforms. However, we will no longer allow free promotion of certain social media platforms on Twitter,”[ads1]; Twitter Support tweeted Sunday.
“Specifically, we will remove accounts created solely for the purpose of promoting other social platforms and content that contains links or usernames for the following platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Nostr and Post.” continued.
The policy will also ban third-party link aggregators, including linktr.ee and lnk.bio, it tiredadding that it will also seek to remove users who try to circumvent the rules by spelling “dot” and sharing screenshots of their handles on banned platforms, among other things to circumvent the restrictions.
The policy marks the most significant change to Twitter under Musk and is among the most comprehensive of any social media platform’s policies in terms of how it limits what users can post. Other social media companies have few, if any, rules regarding users’ links to their accounts on other platforms.
Twitter did not immediately respond to questions from NBC News.
The companies subject to the new policy also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Twitter’s rule changes left out some major social media platforms, most notably TikTok. TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance and is ultimately controlled by China’s Communist Party, according to company insiders and critics. Musk has increasingly been called out for his cozy relationship with China ever since he took over Twitter.
Reddit, Twitch, Telegram, WhatsApp, WeChat, Weibo and the right-wing platforms Parler and Gab are also exempt from the new policy.
Twitter announced the change during Sunday’s World Cup final, which Musk attended and tweeted from. He was depicted sits near Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of former President Donald Trump, who founded Truth Social, which was part of the rule change.
The new rules add to what has been a particularly chaotic stretch for the company and its new owner, with Twitter suspending and reinstating some journalists in recent days after a sudden rule change that targeted leaks about the flights of private jets.
The rule could come under government scrutiny, including from the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees potential anti-competitive corporate actions, and the European Union, which has rules on how technology companies compete with each other.
First-time violators of the new rule may be required to delete tweets or may have their accounts locked, and “any subsequent offense will result in permanent suspension,” the platform said. Users who violate the policy by linking or mentioning other social media accounts in bios or account names will have their account temporarily suspended and will be required to remove the mentions in order to be reinstated.
The new rule will still allow users to cross-post content from other websites, as well as links or usernames to social media sites that are not subject to the ban. so. Users who believe their account was mistakenly suspended or locked may appealadded Twitter.
Others in the technology industry also criticized the move. Aaron Levie, CEO of cloud storage company Box tweeted, “This is just sad.” Benedict Evans, a London-based technology analyst, tweeted that the play was “absolutely pathetic.”
Alex Stamos, director of Stanford University’s Internet Observatory and former head of security for Facebook, called the new policy “the clearest statement of weakness I’ve ever seen from a major US technology platform, and a transparent declaration of anti-competitive intent.”
Paul Graham, a well-followed venture capitalist, said the rule change had pushed him to leave the platform. “This is the last straw,” he tweeted along with a link to his account on Mastodon. “I give up.”
Taylor Lorenz, a Washington Post technology and online culture columnist who was suspended from Twitter Saturday night after tweeting at Musk for comment on a story and has since been reinstated, told NBC News that she “can’t imagine a worse policy if you want content creators to come to your page.”
“People don’t want to be locked in a prison, and that’s what Musk is doing,” she added. “He closes the doors and tries to keep people in.”
Lorenz previously had a tweet attached to her profile promoting her accounts on other sites, including some of the now-banned ones. But as soon as she was reinstated, which was right around the time the company announced the new policy, she took down the tweet, she said.
Musk had yet to address the change as of Sunday afternoon, but many users were passing around earlier tweets from him that apparently served to criticize the new policy.
Most notable is one of his tweets from June read: “The acid test for two competing socio-economic systems is which side needs to build a wall to keep people from escaping? It’s the bad one!”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.