Twitter is looking to address the potential decline in its traffic following the launch of rival platform Instagram Threads by selectively blocking links to the Threads website in Twitter’s search results.
First reported by TechCrunch, users noticed this change when using the search operator "url:threads.net," which returned no results. It remains unclear when the block began.
This is not the first time Twitter has blocked links to a competitor's website. When Substack launched its discussions feature, Substack Notes, Twitter censored those links by disabling the ability to reply, like, or retweet the posts.
The current block on Threads does not go to that extent. The rivalry between Musk and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has intensified in recent days, with Musk challenging Zuckerberg to a "cage match" and using derogatory language in tweets.
Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino has been highlighting the booming usage of Twitter in recent times. However, her comments lack specific metrics or a comparison point, leaving room for skepticism.
Twitter's web traffic declined by 5% in the first two days after Threads' launch compared to the previous week, according to CNBC. Tweets from Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, also pointed to a decline in Twitter traffic.
Threads has surpassed 100 million users in just five days, while it took ChatGPT two months to reach the same scale. Meta has been quick in taking on Twitter's difficulties, launching its subscription offering called Meta Verified this week in 30 markets in Asia Pacific.
Meta Verified shares some striking similarities with Twitter's account verification service, Twitter Blue, which serves to validate the authenticity of high-public-interest accounts.
(This article first appeared on Campaign Asia)