“Free Speech Absolutist” Elon Musk has banned links to all competitors. Initially, Musk only banned links to Mastodon, a social media platform similar to Twitter that has seen usership spikes in recent weeks due to the instability at Twitter.
It makes sense that Musk would want to limit Twitter users’ direct access to Mastodon. Mastodon is a popular platform that is more or less a Twitter clone. However, restricting access to competitors is worrisome and potentially illegal. Marking links that are known to be safe as malicious because they bring Twitter users to Mastodon is malicious. If you don’t understand why this is a big deal, imagine a world where when you open up Microsoft Edge you are forced to search using Bing. That doesn’t sound too bad. After all, you know laziness contributed to you getting Bing results to take you to Google’s home page. But now imagine Bing refusing to show you any website or product remotely linked to Google, that’s when the government usually steps in and files an antitrust lawsuit.
Banning Mastodon links is bad enough, but Musk has taken it several steps further. Twitter updated its policy to explicitly state: “Twitter will no longer allow free promotion of specific social media platforms on Twitter.” Platforms banned include Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Post and Nostr, but that list will probably expand in the future. Additionally, Twitter will no longer allow users the ability to use 3rd-party social media link aggregators, such as linktr.ee, lnk.bio.
Even though you can’t post links to your Instagram account for free, Twitter will happily take your money if you would like to pay to promote it on Twitter. Also, don’t worry about posting Twitter links to banned social platforms, Twitter will gladly take the free publicity and let you keep your Twitter presence as long as you don’t completely cross promote. For a man who goes on and on about free speech, Elon Musk spends a lot of time restricting non-violent and non-bigoted speech on his website as he cultivates an environment where hate speech thrives.
Who would’ve thought that Reddit, formerly a well-known cesspool, would be one of the saner social media platforms. Or that we need to give Mark Zuckerberg credit for not being a lunatic.
Please note that the aforementioned free speech absolutist responds so harshly to criticism, we can’t even post a link to this article on Twitter because we’d get banned.
Editor’s Note: This article was written on December 18, 2022 and since then Twitter has removed this policy.