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Twitter Bans Accounts Promoting Other Social Networks

New policy comes after Twitter suspended an account that encouraged users to join a rival platform.

Twitter logo on phone
Sarah Tew/CNET

Twitter will no longer allow accounts created to promote rival social networks, days after suspending an account that encouraged users to join Mastodon.

"We will no longer allow free promotion of certain social media platforms on Twitter," Twitter wrote in a tweet thread on Sunday. "Specifically, we will remove accounts created solely for the purpose of promoting other social platforms and content that contains links or usernames for the following platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Nostr and Post."

Twitter went on to say that the new policy doesn't prohibit cross-posting of content from other platforms.

After @JoinMastodon was replaced Thursday with a message that the account had been suspended for violating Twitter's rules, Twitter began interfering with links to Mastodon. Clicking on a Mastodon link on Twitter brings up a warning saying the link was "potentially spammy or unsafe."

Twitter has been somewhat chaotic since Elon Musk completed his purchase of Twitter on Oct. 27. About half the Twitter staff was laid off only days after Musk took charge, and the site briefly launched a new "blue check" verification service only to be plagued with trolls and fake "verified" accounts.

On Thursday, the social network also suspended several journalists -- including from The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN -- claiming they violated its rules. A day earlier, Twitter suspended over two dozen accounts on the site that use publicly available flight information to track the location of private jets, including the plane used by Twitter owner Musk.

The new policy comes as many people are opting out of Twitter in favor of the decentralized social network Mastodon. In the first two weeks after Musk's purchase, Mastodon gained 1 million new users, said Eugen Rochko, Mastodon's creator. That put the network's total around 1.6 million active users -- still just a tiny fraction of Twitter's 238 million.

Twitter, which no longer has a communications department, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.