According to CNN: Elon Musk’s Twitter suspended several journalists from major news organizations covering him on Thursday. But some legal experts say Twitter took a separate and possibly related move against a fast-growing rival that could open the company up to regulatory scrutiny.
In addition to suspending journalists covering the controversy related to third-party tracking of Elon Musk’s private jet, the platform also suspended the official Twitter account of rival Mastodon after they tweeted about the ElonJet account.
Twitter users began tweeting links to his Mastodon profiles, some half-jokingly telling followers where he could be found on alternative platforms, before he was banned from Twitter without warning. . Twitter began throwing up roadblocks, describing Mastodon’s link as insecure and potentially malicious.
Legal experts are considering whether Twitter’s blocking of the Mastodon link could have anti-competitive or other regulatory implications. You can look at all kinds of problems from a competition and consumer protection perspective, said Bill Baer, who served in two different US administrations as the former top antitrust official at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.
The questions, which bring Twitter to bear on some of the antitrust investigations that have been leveled at big tech giants Meta and Google, come just as Twitter questions its ability to comply with the US government’s consent decree. exacerbates concerns. confronts questions. It also faces concerns about hate speech on stage and a possible precedent from the suspension of reporters reporting on Musk.
Twitter, which has cut most of its public relations team, did not respond to a request for comment. As news of the reporter’s suspension spread, several Twitter users announced they were migrating or expanding to Mastodon. But Twitter’s sudden ban on link-sharing appeared to thwart some efforts to send users to alternative platforms.
Virginia Democratic Rep. Don Baer said Twitter is now attempting to block its users from navigating to the official social media accounts of elected officials on other platforms. Other users, such as New York Times editor Patrick LaForge, noticed that attempts to add Mastodon links to Twitter profiles were generating error messages from Twitter warning that the links were “considered malware”.
CNN confirmed some of the reports with its own testing, finding that Twitter blocked attempts by users to tweet links referencing Mastodon profiles. Sharing Mastodon user handles as plain text, and using link-shortening services that obscure the destination URL, allow users to avoid restrictions.
Elon Musk falsely claimed that suspended journalists shared real-time information on their physical location in violation of Twitter policies. After one of the suspended reporters challenged Musk’s claim at a Twitter Space event that Musk spontaneously collapsed on Thursday evening, the new Twitter owner abruptly left the conversation.