Elon continues to purge Twitter while banning links to Mastodon

Elon continues to purge Twitter while banning links to Mastodon

Elon continues to purge Twitter while banning links to Mastodon

Twitter has shut the hatches to prevent passengers from abandoning the sinking ship.

Links to popular servers at Mastodon, an up-and-coming rival to Twitter, are purportedly being blocked on the website as of late Thursday night. Twitter also took down the official Mastodon Twitter account. Only a few hours earlier, Twitter started deleting the accounts of well-known journalists who had previously published negative articles about its owner, Elon Musk.

Elon continues to purge Twitter while banning links to Mastodon

Twitter purportedly sends an error notice to users who attempt to quickly tweet out URLs from Mastodon, stating that it "cannot finish this request because this link has been flagged by Twitter as being potentially hazardous." According to The Verge's tests, URLs to the original mastodon.social server and at least 10 other domains appear to be blocked by Twitter.

Elon Bans Mastodon Links As Twitter Purge Continue
Over the past month, Mastodon links have likely trickled into the feeds of anyone who has spent even a brief amount of time on Twitter. The Twitter-alternative, which was previously a small, specialized site, claims that in the first two weeks following Musk's appointment as Twitter's CEO, it attracted close to 500,000 subscribers. After Musk, well, practically turned Twitter into the exact "free-for-all hellscape" he said he wanted to avoid, a variety of other disgruntled Twitter users rushed to the network. By including a Mastodon profile link in their account name or biography, some Twitter users attempted to creatively maneuver around the link bans on Friday.

Gizmodo reached out to Twitter for comment regarding the Mastodon blockages, but it's important to note that the company's communications team apparently suffered significant reductions as part of the estimated 3,700 personal layoffs.

Shortly after posting a Mastodon link to the now-banned ElonJet account, Mastodon's main account appears to have been deleted. This week, Twitter suspended, then reinstated, and then again suspended that account that followed the location of Musk's private jet for allegedly breaking the terms of service. Uncertain of the specific Twitter policies ElonJet broke, Musk tweeted, "Real-time publishing of someone else's location violates doxxing policy." The ElonJet's inventor, Jack Sweeney, a 20-year-old college student, was also suspended by Twitter. Previously, Musk attempted to bribe Sweeney $5,000 so that she would voluntarily close the account.

ElonJet was just the beginning of the Twitter takedown, though. At least nine well-known journalists had their Twitter accounts suspended on Thursday, the majority of whom had previously written articles criticizing Elon Musk. All of them appear to have tweeted about the ElonJet account, however it's unclear why those accounts were permanently suspended.

In a series of tweets, Musk appeared to address some of the bans.

"FBI would be investigating, there would be hearings on Capitol Hill, and Biden would give speeches about the end of democracy if someone disclosed real-time whereabouts & addresses of NYT reporters." Musk penned. "Criticizing me all day long is absolutely fine, but doxxing my real-time whereabouts and endangering my family is not," the billionaire wrote in a another tweet.

The decision to restore journalists was presumably left up to Twitter's increasingly venomous user base after Musk created one of his now all too familiar polls. 43% of respondents believed Twitter should immediately reinstate the accounts as of the time of writing. 14.4% argued for a seven-day extension of the ban, while 38.1% felt that it should last "longer." Similar "scientific" criteria were used by Musk to determine whether or not to restore former president Donald Trump's account.

As if that weren't bizarre enough, Musk reportedly joined a Twitter spaces event alongside the journalist who had been banned after they found a loophole that let blocked accounts to use the social audio feature. Before leaving the meeting abruptly, Musk attempted to justify the minor bans throughout the call.

"Drawing real-time information about someone's location is unacceptable, as I'm sure everyone who's been doxxed would agree, and I think everyone on this call would not wish that to be done to them," Musk said. And there won't be a difference between journalists, or so-called journalists, and average people in the future. Everyone will receive the same treatment.

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