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My copy of WordPress outputs two <link/> tags in the header of (nearly?) every page. They look like this.

<link rel="alternate" type="application/json+oembed" href="http://example.com/wp-json/oembed/1.0/embed?url=http%3A%2F%2Fexample.com%2Fbust%2F" />
<link rel="alternate" type="text/xml+oembed" href="http://example.com/wp-json/oembed/1.0/embed?url=http%3A%2F%2Fexample.com%2Fbust%2F&#038;format=xml" />

What are these oembed links for? Do they need to be here for WordPress to do things? Or are they here so other sites can better consume my content? What would be the consequences if I removed them?

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Those are links for the wordpress "self" oEmbed. It provides the URLs needed to enable embeding the content of the wordpress site in other sites and they are resuired for oEmbed Discover

You are right that they are for other sites to consume your content, and if you don't care about it, just remove it. IMHO it is noting bad by itself, but if you are dedicating time for some cleanup, you should probably clean them as well. https://wordpress.org/plugins/disable-embeds/

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