A news outlet has been listed as "harmful" on Twitter – but only if you try to retweet a link to an article that is critical of Elon Musk. When trying to share the parody article, a message will appear telling the user that the link "may link to a harmful website" – despite the fact that no other link to the site causes this message to appear.
Mediaite, the outlet that published the article in the first place, also states that the message was even stronger when it first shared the article. Initially, users were told that the link "may be unsafe", and that it could be "malicious", "spammy", "violent", or "misleading". Despite many reporting that it does not fit into any of these categories, a warning remains, leading many to accuse Twitter's new boss of trying to silence his critics.
The article in question is titled "What Elon Musk Is Doing Right at Twitter". It's only one word long, because the answer is "Nothing". It's therefore difficult to see how it could be perceived as in breach of Twitter's terms and conditions, especially if none of the other links to the site are being flagged in this way.
While the initial, much more severe warning has been taken away, trying to share the article will still present you with the following message: "This Tweet may link to a harmful website
Help keep Twitter safe for everyone. Want to reconsider before sharing?"
Mediaite has been unable to seek clarification on why its publication was blocked in this way, so it does not know what rules it was apparently in breach of.
Yet it isn't surprising to see a lack of consistency in how Twitter moderates its users under Musk's leadership. Anyone who has been on the site over the past few days would have seen that it's become inundated with parody accounts, often buying a verification badge so they can impersonate real people and organizations. At first, Musk allowed this, although required that such accounts label themselves as parody. Despite this, accounts that were parodying Musk himself were quickly slapped with lifetime suspensions, even if they were marked as parodies.
Since then, Musk has changed the rules again, stating that such accounts should have "parody" in their Twitter name. However, once you have a verification badge, you actually can't change your name. Finally realizing this was an issue, Twitter has now suspended new Twitter Blue subscriptions, likely in a bid to stop these accounts.
Twitter is yet to comment on the matter regarding Mediaite, but considering its communications department no longer exists, that's to be expected. It was also reported this week that Musk may have been unblocking himself from other users' accounts, so it seems he has other commitments right now.
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