Twitter today announced it would "no longer allow free promotion of certain social media platforms" on the site, specifying "Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Nostr and Post."
The one of those that matters, though, is Mastodon, the fast-growing network to which Twitter users—especially celebrities and media personalities—are flowing in droves since the site was bought by mercurial billionaire Elon Musk.
If it sounds like another haphazard effort to "policify" Musk's capricious and censorial outbursts, the evidence was already in: in recent days users trying to post links to Mastodon reported that they were falsely flagged as "potentially harmful" or as "malware."
The latest move follows last week's "Thursday Night Massacre," in which Musk suspended the accounts of several journalists covering his ban on ElonJet, an account that automatically tweeted public data about the current location of his private jet. Then, Twitter retroactively justified those suspensions with a similarly half-baked prohibition on the live geolocation of other users. That it implicates all sorts of innocuous twittering, such as coordinating lunch plans, belies the more specific purpose of the rule.
Musk often invoked the restoration of free speech during and after his takeover of Twitter, a game between him and naive liberal pundits not in on the joke ("they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly"). In addition to being the main character every day, Musk now takes over another mantle: that of the guy for whom "there is always a tweet."