Twitter is banning links that lead to social platforms including Facebook and Instagram, but it will allow the links to exist in advertising.
In the latest salvo of policy changes for Twitter, the microblogging service has now made it tougher for users to be attracted away to other social platforms. Revealed on Sunday, the "Promotion of alternative social platforms policy" bans users from including links to a number of other platforms from their Twitter account.
"Twitter will no longer allow free promotion of specific social media platforms on Twitter," the policy states.
Under the policy, tweets and user accounts are not allowed to link out to other platforms, with Twitter removing "any free promotion" as it sees fit.
The prohibited platforms list includes Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Post, and Nostr. Third-party social media link aggregators including lnk.bio and linktr.ee are also banned under the policy.
Users also cannot provide a username for other platforms without including the URL under the new rules. For example, you can't post "follow me @username on Instagram."
This element is likely due to the number of users including their handles for competing platforms in the time following Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter. Banning this type of tweet may limit attempts by users to migrate their followers over to Mastodon and other sites.
Twitter admits this means accounts used to promote content on other social platforms may get suspended as part of the change. Attempts to bypass the rule, such as by using link shorteners or other means, will also violate the policy.
Under a section defining what doesn't violate the policy, Twitter explains it will still allow users to "post content to Twitter from these platforms" in the form of a cross-posting.
You're also not violating the policy if you're prepared to spend money, as Twitter will "allow paid advertisement/promotion for any of the prohibited social media platforms."
Accounts that violate the policy can potentially be locked temporarily until the tweet is deleted. However, subsequent offenses face the threat of a "permanent suspension."
The new policy follows after Twitter's existing ban of links to Mastodon, which prevents users from linking to several servers of the decentralized service.
In the last week, Twitter has seen accounts of prominent journalists temporarily barred then reinstated, for discussing a Twitter account that shared the location of Musk's plane. It is also reported that Twitter could violate Apple's App Store guidelines by forcing users to opt into personalized ads and location tracking.