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MATT O’BRIEN and BRIAN P.D. by Hannon

Elon Musk is asking Twitter users to decide whether he should remain in charge of the social media platform after admitting he made a mistake on Sunday by launching new speech restrictions that sought to ban mentions of rival social media platforms.

In another drastic policy change, Twitter said users would no longer be able to link to Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon and other platforms the company described as “prohibited.”

But the move drew so much immediate criticism, including from former defenders of Twitter’s new billionaire owner, that Musk vowed not to make any more major policy changes without online user polls.

“Sorry. Won’t happen again,” Musk tweeted before launching a new 12-hour poll asking if he should step down as head of Twitter. “I’ll be following the results of this poll.”

The incident was Musk’s latest attempt to crack down on some speech after he shut down a Twitter account last week that tracked his private jet’s flights.

Banned platforms included major sites like Facebook and Instagram, as well as new challengers Mastodon, Tribel, Nostr, Post and former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social. Twitter gave no explanation as to why it blacklisted those seven sites, but not others such as Parler, TikTok or LinkedIn.

Twitter has announced that it will at least temporarily suspend accounts that include banned websites in their profiles. However, the practice is so widespread that it’s unclear whether, or how, the company will enforce the restrictions on Twitter’s millions of users around the world.

One of the test cases was prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist Paul Graham, who has praised Musk in the past but told his 1.5 million followers on Sunday that it was the “last straw” and to find him at Mastodon. His Twitter account was immediately suspended and soon reinstated.

Twitter also said it would ban the promotion of third-party social media link aggregators, such as Linktree, which some people use to show where they can be found on various sites.

Twitter earlier took steps to block links to one of its competitors, Mastodon, after its main Twitter page tweeted about the @ElonJet controversy last week. Mastodon has grown rapidly in recent weeks as an alternative for Twitter users unhappy with Musk’s overhaul of Twitter since he bought the company for $44 billion in late October and began restoring accounts that ran afoul of Twitter. the former leadership’s rules against hate dignity and other things. damages.

Some Twitter users included links to their new Mastodon profile and encouraged followers to find them there. That’s now banned on Twitter, as are attempts to get around the restrictions, such as using the word “instagram dot com” and a username instead of a direct website link.

Instagram and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, did not respond to requests for comment Sunday. Twitter said it would still allow “paid advertising/promotion” from otherwise prohibited platforms, as well as some content originating from “cross-posting” prohibited sites.

On Wednesday, Musk permanently banned the @ElonJet account and later changed Twitter’s rules to prohibit posting another person’s current location without their consent. He then took aim at journalists writing on the plane’s tracking account, which can still be found on other sites including Mastodon, Facebook, Instagram and Truth Social, claiming they were broadcasting “basically the coordinates of the murders”. :

He used it to justify Twitter’s moves last week to suspend the accounts of many journalists who cover the social media platform and Musk, including The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Voice of America. and journalists from other publications. Many of those accounts were recovered as a result of Musk’s online inquiry.

Then, over the weekend, The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz became the latest reporter to be suspended from Twitter.

Lorenz said he and another Post reporter were looking into the story about Musk. She had tried to contact the billionaire but her attempts went unanswered, so she tried to contact him on Saturday, posting a message on Twitter tagging Musk and asking for an interview.

The specific subject of the tweet was not identified, though it was in response to Musk’s tweet earlier in the week about an alleged incident involving a “violent stalker” in Southern California, and Musk’s claims that reporters were revealing his family’s whereabouts by referring to the plane. tracker account.

When he returned to check on Twitter on Saturday for a response, Lorenzi received a notification that his account had been “permanently suspended.”

“I won’t say I didn’t expect it,” Lorenz said in a phone interview with The Associated Press early Sunday morning. He said he was not given a specific reason for the ban.

Sally Buzby, executive editor of The Washington Post, said in a written statement Sunday that “the arbitrary firing of another Post reporter further undermines Elon Musk’s claim that he intends to run Twitter as a platform dedicated to free speech.

“Again, the suspension happened without warning, process or explanation, this time because our reporter was simply seeking comment from Musk for a story,” Buzby said. “Post journalists should be reinstated immediately, without arbitrary conditions.”

Lorenz’s account was reinstated Sunday afternoon, along with the tweet he believed prompted his suspension.

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