Elon Musk Spent The Weekend Suspending Journalists And Weirdly Blocking Links To Rival Social Media Services

How was your weekend? Did you relax before the holiday rush? Did you mourn the sudden departure of Cecily Strong from SNL? Or did you spend it making your already chaotic social media service even battier? If it was the latter, then congrats: You’re Elon Musk, the second richest person on the planet. The Tesla/SpaceX dude is a month-and-a-half into his headache-inducing tenure as lord of Twitter, and over the weekend he was evidently in a pissy rage, briefly suspending yet another journalist’s account and enacting a new rule even his predecessor thought was weird.

First up is Taylor Lorenz, the Washington Post tech reporter who’s become the scourge of the far right, as well as the increasingly right-ish owner of Twitter. Last week, Musk temporarily suspended a number of reporters’ accounts, accusing them of doxing the location of him and his family. (They didn’t.)

One person spared was Lorenz — but turns out he was saving her ban for later. On Saturday her account was frozen without explanation and despite her not having shared any links that could even be interpreted as doxing. Lorenz had even wiped her feed clean of all but a few anodyne posts. Musk later explained he had it banned due to her past doxing, specifically revealing the identity of the rightwing extremist account “Libs of TikTok.” The next day, however, Lorenz was back on Twitter.

So that was fun. But even more fun was this: On Sunday, the Twitter Support account unveiled a new rule prohibiting users from linking to other social media services, including Facebook, Instagram, Donald Trump’s rink-dink Twitter clone, and places that have become popular Twitter alternatives, like Mastodon and Post. Even Nostr, the new decentralized service set up by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, is now verboten.


It’s a pretty severe new rule, and it even takes into account clever workarounds. For instance, if a tweet spells out a link — e.g., Mastodon dot com — said tweet can be deleted. Ditto posts that include screenshots. (If you’re wondering if this will affect the aforementioned “Libs of TikTok,” whose entire gimmick is linking to another social media service, the answer is no, as TikTok is not one of the outlawed services, yet.) He’s also reportedly planning on removing accounts he feels exist solely to link to now restricted rivals.

Like almost all of Musk’s decisions, the move was widely dragged by users of Twitter. Among them was Dorsey himself, who had two comments: “Why?” and “doesn’t make sense.”

Perhaps the reason for the move is because Musk wants to make it harder for people to flee elsewhere, especially given all the people he’s been recklessly banning then un-banning. One good way to stop a potential mass exodus, of course, is for Musk to stop acting the way he has been.

(Via Time and The Verge)