“Doesn’t make sense,” is all Jack Dorsey, the former big boss at Twitter, could muster up. He must be wondering where it all went so wrong, since he left the CEO’s chair at the social media company. This certainly isn’t the new direction he envisioned for Twitter, did he?
In a major change of stance, and for the first time in its existence, Twitter is adopting a walled-garden approach. If at all that was possible in the world of social media, but here we are. Twitter has marched out of the social media playground. The Elon Musk led social media company, in a rather abrupt policy shift, now says Twitter will no longer allow users to post links to any other social media sites.
There are limited (and confusing; expect no less) exceptions to this newly cobbled together rule. If at all the rule even exists right now.
Facebook, Instagram being the usual suspects, but also includes the new crop of wanna-be Twitter alternatives including Mastodon and Post. Even Donald Trump’s Truth Social. Important to note that at the time of writing this, Twitter’s official tweet announcing this change as well as the online post detailing the new policy, are unavailable — the tweet stands deleted (an increasing occurrence in the Musk era Twitter) and the policy detailing webpage is unavailable.
Users are no longer able to share links to any other social media platform in a tweet — an error message will pop-up if you try. For some reason, YouTube, TikTok, OnlyFans, Telegram and Weibo remain safe for now. Third-party link aggregators such as LinkTree and Lnk.bio are also restricted.
If you are baffled, you are absolutely not alone.
Quite how content creators react to the new restriction against cross-posting content across their social media presence, with Twitter now being the outlier, remains to be seen. The initial wave of criticism, might provide a hint. It’ll be interesting to see if social media companies including Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, make a reactive move.
In one of the typical bumbling policy implementations that we’ve become familiar with over the last few months, Twitter was called out by Edward Snowden, the former American intelligence contractor who blew the whistle on top-secret NSA documents. Paul Graham, a scientist, had his Twitter account blocked, for simply mentioning Mastodon and his Mastodon profile in the tweet. Incidentally, that tweet included a link to Twitter’s new policy.
“Paul’s account will be restored shortly,” said Elon Musk, in a reply.
Mind you, Twitter is absolutely okay with paid promotion of these banned accounts. At least that is what the policy hinted at, before being made unavailable.
“We recognise that certain social media platforms provide alternative experiences to Twitter, and allow users to post content to Twitter from these platforms. In general, any type of cross-posting to our platform is not in violation of this policy, even from the prohibited sites listed above. Additionally, we allow paid advertisement/promotion for any of the prohibited social media platforms,” it read.
A finer point of Twitter’s new content policy — it isn’t just links that are now frowned upon. You cannot add any handles or usernames from other social media platforms. For instance, you’ll not be able to tweet out your new coordinates at Mastodon or Post.
There is also a poll on Elon Musk’s official Twitter account, that is Live right now, which is asking whether he should step down as the CEO of Twitter. Musk has had to specify though, “I will abide by the results of this poll.” History isn’t kind to facts about Musk and Twitter polls, having redone a poll quite recently, asking users how long the account bans for certain journalists should remain. “Too many options,” he realised, after the results were in.
At this time, “yes” is winning, by a pretty big margin.
To be fair, this poll isn’t revealing anything new. Murmurs have been persistent ever since Musk’s rather reluctant take-over, that his time as CEO is only temporary. It may be a matter of handpicking the executive who would succeed him, whether it is a elevation from within the Twitter fold, or hiring an executive. We may be close to either scenario, hence the timing of the poll.
At the time of writing this, 11,064,305 votes had been cast. And counting. The clock is ticking down, with only a few hours remaining.
It is either the search for a new CEO is complete, or the topic that Musk refuses to acknowledge in his tweets, is piling on the pressure. Tesla, the electric car company, has seen the stock price this week tumble to a 52-week low of around $150 per share. It is hovering around $150.23 today. Amidst the bigger picture, this is 49.92% down compared to a year ago.
Though you should take Elon Musk’s announcements with a generous dose of salt. Case in point, his previous promise that “No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes,” before reinstating multiple accounts banned by Twitter, including those of former US President Donald Trump. The content moderation council has still not been cobbled together.