When searching for links to Meta’s microblogging rival Threads on Twitter, users discover that the Elon Musk-owned social media platform seems to be restricting their options. That’s in spite of the fact that Twitter is already flooded with connections to Threads content, which you’d anticipate to be discoverable using search. This pattern has been called out by many Twitter users.
When utilizing the “URL:” search operator, which is typically used to look for links to a specific URL, users will identify the problem. For instance, a search for “url:threads.net” on Twitter is supposed to return all tweets and links to any page on the website regardless of whether the URL has been shortened or not. But even if there are many tweets that connect to the website, searching for “url:threads.net” yields zero results.
In the same way, searching for “threads.net” without the “url:” operator should yield dozens of results from users who have their Threads account in their display name or who are discussing the service without linking to it; no related Threads postings are returned.
You can still use a bit of creativity to locate links to Threads posts on Twitter. The easiest remedy we’ve found is to search for “url:”threads net” with a space between “threads” and “net”, however, you can still search for specific Thread post URLs (like this). However, the deliberate restriction complicates the entire process and makes it more difficult to quickly access a wide variety of Threads connections on Twitter.
It’s unclear whether this act is deliberate, as all effort to get Twitter’s opinion has proved abortive. Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, has harshly criticized Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Threads and Meta. On July 6, Musk tweeted, “Competition is good, cheating is not.” Three days later, his less polite remark was, “Zuck is a cuck.” In relation to Threads, Twitter has also threatened to sue Meta, alleging that Meta has committed “systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property.”
But if it’s deliberate, it wouldn’t be the first time Twitter has restricted other services’ visibility on its platform. On the eve of the introduction of the microblogging service Notes, Twitter in early April restricted how users may interact with postings including links to Substack. Following the inability of users to like, reply to, or retweet tweets containing Substack URLs, Twitter began flagging these links as hazardous. Additionally, Twitter switched “Substack” search results to the far more inclusive “newsletter.”
Substack links were restricted by Elon Musk, who claimed that the service “was trying to download a massive portion of the Twitter database to bootstrap their Twitter clone.” His worries, however, seemed to be unfounded; a day later, Substack said that “the suppression of Substack publications on Twitter” had seemingly ceased.