Current Events Editorial

Twitter just banned links to many other social media services

Two-panel graphic. Panel 1 has the text “Does your tweet have a link to something on these services?” followed by the icons for Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Nostr, Post, Tribel, and Truth Social. Panel 2 has the text “That’s a paddlin’”, featuring Jasper from “The Simpsons”, glowering and holding a paddle.

Earlier this afternoon U.S. Eastern time (UTC-5), while much of the world’s attention was on the World Cup — and in fact, while Elon Musk himself was in Qatar to catch the finals — Twitter announced a new policy prohibiting linking to anything on the following platforms, listed in alphabetical order:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Mastodon
  • Nostr
  • Post
  • Tribel
  • Truth Social

Nostr isn’t even a social media service, but a protocol that’s so new that the definitive site is its Github repo.

Because this is a Twitter story, there has to be a dumb twist: Jack Dorsey, former CEO of Twitter, recently donated to the Nostr project. Once again, because this is a Twitter story, there has to be an even dumber twist: that Jack’s donation was in Bitcoin — 14 BTC, or $235,000 as I write this (it was $245,000 when Coindesk wrote the story about the donation).

What doesn’t Twitter allow anymore under the new policy?

The Promotion of alternative social platforms policy page says that Twitter will remove “any free promotion of prohibited 3rd-party social media platforms, such as linking out (i.e. using URLs)” to the services listed above, or even any mention of your handle on those services, such as:

  • “follow me @username on Instagram”
  • “”
  • “check out my profile on Facebook –”

The policy also states that “technical or non-technical” workarounds, including “plaintext obfuscation” (including the classic “I’m so-and-so at instagram dot com”) is a violation of this policy.

What does Twitter still allow under the new policy?

The page is a little more vague about links that aren’t a violation of the policy, which are summed up as links to social media platforms that “provide alternative experiences to Twitter, and allow users to post content to Twitter.” Presumably YouTube falls under this category, as does LinkedIn. The page also says that cross-posting to Twitter isn’t a violation of this policy, but only because it it were, it would be nearly impossible to enforce.

What are the consequences of posting something that contravenes the new policy?

Jasper from “The Simpsons,” glowering and holding a paddle.

First, there are violations at the per-tweet level. For tweets that count as “an isolated incident or first offense”, they have the option of deleting the offending tweet or temporarily locking your account. Repeat offenses mean getting locked out permanently.

Then, there are those violations at the account level — that is, where you mention one of the forbidden services in your Twitter bio or account name. As a matter of fact, as I write this, I am in violation of this new policy:

Screenshot of Joey deVilla’s Twitter bio, which includes his Mastodon handle, and the URL for his Mastodon page,

The policy states that anyone who does this will have their account temporarily suspended until they remove any mention of the offending services. Additional violations will result in a permanent suspension.

It’s just more evidence that there is no plan, just knee-jerk responses to stimuli

From the haphazard way they’ve been managing their own staff to disasters like the Blue Check program to the “Apple is kicking us out of the App Store!” non-event to capricious account suspensions to this, it should now be quite evident that there’s no plan being executed here — just a seat-of-the-pants scramble based on whatever whim Elon happens to have at the moment. I feel terrible for anyone who’s still working there.

This is NOT the time for premature compliance; this is the time to seek better places to post

If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance that you have a Twitter post or bio that points to something on one of the now-forbidden services. Before you change that post or bio to comply with the new policy, consider:

  • Twitter might revoke the policy by the end of this week. It wouldn’t be the first time since Elon took charge that they did something rash, then undid it hastily.
  • Do you really want to comply with such a policy?

My recommendations:

  • Stop feeding the beast. End your use of Twitter. Keep your account so that someone else doesn’t take your Twitter identity, but don’t use it.
  • Find better places to post. Use the social media services that meet your needs and that aren’t under the control of a raging narcissist whose id is out of control.
  • If you like long-form tweeting or “tweetstorming,” consider blogging. It’s a better medium for longer-form posts, and it gives you control over everything, from content to presentation, and it means you really own your content.

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