Melbourne-based link-in-bio startup Linktree has been caught up in the latest changes to Twitter under its quirky new owner, Elon Musk.
Linktree boss Alex Zaccaria ironically took to Twitter to claim that Musk’s latest dictation was “anti-creator and antithetical” to the fundamentals of the internet and Twitter, pointing out that Linktree drives twice as much traffic to Twitter than the other way.
It’s been a hectic weekend for Musk, who banned several prominent journalists from Twitter“doxxing” declaring a great sin before committing his own”murder coordinatesin several posts from the World Cup final in Qatar – true he was photographed standing next to Donald Trump’s son-in-lawJared Kushner.
Now at the World Cup pic.twitter.com/CG7zMMxSjE
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 18, 2022
His next fatwah had users mark their move to rival platform Mastodon and change the rules around Twitter links to ban “any free promotion of banned third-party social media platforms”.
The ban includes Linktree as well as Facebook, Instagram and Truth Social, backed by Trump.
We recognize that many of our users are active on other social media platforms. However, we will no longer allow free advertising for certain social media platforms on Twitter.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) December 18, 2022
Users were suspended for link posts, most notably Y Combinator founder and VC investor Paul Graham, before his account was reinstated a few hours later.
The offensive tweet, in which Graham, a strong supporter of Musk, said he is fed up and heading for Mastodon, remains after his reassignment.
This is the last straw. I give up. On my site you will find a link to my new Mastodon profile.https://t.co/bbmZ4yvAJH
—Paul Graham (@paulg) December 18, 2022
The impact on Linktree is unknown, but two hours after Startup Daily asked for comment on the ban, co-founder and CEO Alex Zaccaria took to Twitter and posted his own thread on the issues saying the “proposed” policy – like most Musk edicts, it is simply enacted rather than proposed – was “anti-creator and antithetical”.
“The proposed update to Twitter’s policy, which prohibits creators from linking to other platforms like Linktree, is anti-creator at its core and contradicts the open, free internet on which Twitter was founded,” he said.
“This move, banning platforms and limiting interoperability, has real-life implications for those who rely on Twitter for a living: the users.”
Zaccaria said the ability to cross market audiences and platforms is essential for users.
“Forcing makers to lock themselves into a walled garden destroys a maker’s opportunities for growth, monetization and interoperability. This would hurt the creators, not other major platforms. In fact, Linktree users send almost twice as much traffic back to Twitter than Twitter does to Linktree. This policy would cut off that flow and path of discovery, harming the user again.
Earlier this year, before paying $44 billion for Twitter, Musk held similar views, as many have now noted, when he said, “The acid test for two competing socioeconomic systems is which side should build a wall to keep people from escape? That’s the bad one!”
The acid test for two competing socio-economic systems is which side should build a wall to prevent people from escaping? That’s the bad one!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 6, 2022
Like Trump, Musk has a previous tweet for every occasion that contradicts what he’s saying now.
While the impact on Linktree has yet to play out, it’s unlikely to hit the bottom line hard. And like most of the policy chaos created by Musk since he took charge, there will likely be an admission from the “free speech absolutist” that his latest ban is too high, with Linktree pardoned for all perceived sins.
In March this year, Linktree raised $152 million (US$110 million) in a self-described Series B expansion with a valuation of $1.8 billion, following the initial $59 million Series B in 2021.
Linktree has been profitable since its launch in 2016 and was bootstrapped until 2020, having first raised capital in October of that year with a $15 million Series A.