WIRED wrote a lot about Elon Musk’s Twitter lately, so forgive me for bringing that up – but for those of us who are as incurably online as I am, let me just ask: What the heck happened last weekend?
I woke up Sunday morning to find that Twitter would block any mentions or links to “competing” services from Instagram to Facebook to Linktree of all things. It was allegedly to prevent “free advertising” by the platform’s competitors and “curb spam”. Of course, anyone who could rub two neurons together could tell that this was a cover story – it doesn’t take a journalist to tell you that – and the big link ban was mainly there to stem the flow of active and popular users to other platforms while controlling language on behalf of Musk’s mission [checks notes] … protect freedom of speech.
What essentially ensued was a small online uproar, with Twitter users from every corner denouncing the new policy. Within hours, the company had not only backed down, but also deleted all mentions of the policy, which was less than a day old, from Twitter feeds and the company’s website. It was a whirlwind for anyone who was online to see it. (Although if you missed it, I wouldn’t tell you missed itif you know what I mean.)
But I’m not here to speculate on the true motives behind Sunday’s whiplash; I don’t think that’s helpful. After all, intent and effect are separate things. Regardless of the intention, if someone smacks you in the face, they still slapped you in the face. Now you have to deal with the situation they created. So my thoughts turn instead – and I hope yours do too – to the people affected by the policy change over the weekend. Those Twitter users who spent Sunday wondering if the platform they used and trusted to find and promote their work was connecting with, and in many cases relying on, others in their field Leaving income would allow them to continue.
When we talk about “platforms and performance” at WIRED, we mean exactly that. Of course, every custodian of a platform, whether CEO, founder or middle manager, has the unenviable task of providing guidelines and guidelines for the safe and legal use of that platform to define and enforce. That’s out of the question. Without such rules, online rooms can quickly go bad. One problem is when these platforms choose to actively harm their users through policy choices, and when those changes are large enough to force users to either adapt or abandon ship.
Let me explain: I’m lucky enough to know a lot of creative people as well as a lot of journalists and technicians. When I woke up to the news on Sunday, it was delivered to me by tweets from artists who feared they would be banned from Twitter for linking to their own portfolios and platforms where they accept commissions for their artworks. I’ve read horror stories from authors who were afraid that the linktrees their publishers were asking them to use to promote their books, reviews and Goodreads profiles were suddenly bannable offenses on Twitter.
My friends on Twitch paused their streams to discuss the news because they were concerned they wouldn’t be able to tweet to announce they were starting a new stream or add a link to their Twitter bio to do so viewers can find them more easily. All of these things have created the potential for lost income for people who I think need it more than the people who made these policy decisions. After all, these same creators have the kind of disruptive entrepreneurial spirit that everyone in Silicon Valley claims to be promoting and empowering.
https://www.wired.com/story/plaintext-twitter-is-no-longer-a-creative-haven/ Twitter Is No Longer a Creative Haven