Twitter Substack Ban controversy depicting elon musk and Matt Taibbi.

Twitter Substack Ban

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Updated Apr 10, 2023 at 03:29PM EDT by Zach.

Added Apr 10, 2023 at 12:11PM EDT by sakshi.

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Twitter Substack Ban, also known as Elon Musk's Twitter vs. Substack Notes Controversy, refers to Twitter's censorship of tweets that link to the subscription newsletter platform Substack. Substack announced its short-form "Notes" feature in early April 2023, which many took to be a direct competitor to Twitter. Twitter then retaliated by blocking Twitter embeds on Substack posts and subsequently throttling the ability to share Substack links on Twitter itself. The events also led to handpicked Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi announcing his departure from Twitter in favor of his platform on Substack. The censorship block against interacting with Substack links was eventually lifted on April 8th, however, searches for the term "Substack" began redirecting to the word "newsletter" instead. Centering prominently around Elon Musk's leadership at Twitter, the early April 2023 event sparked backlash online as the controversy became widely discussed and covered in the media.


On the morning of April 5th, 2023, the Twitter[1] account @SubstackInc posted a tweet announcing the release of its upcoming "Notes" feature, gathering over 1,000 likes in five days (seen below, left). On April 6th, The Verge then reported that Twitter was blocking the ability to embed tweets into Substack articles.[2] That same day, Substack's official Twitter account, among others, noted that Twitter embeds in Substack articles were purportedly being throttled as well (seen below, right).[6][11]

IIK Substack @SubstackInc We started Substack because we wanted the internet to be better for writers and readers. Today, we're taking a big step towards a better internet. Introducing Notes, a new way for writing, ideas, and discussion to travel through the Substack network. 11:02 AM. Apr 5, 2023 263.9K Views ||II|| DNI 400 Retweets 147 Quotes 1,725 Likes 105 Bookmarks : © 20 Substack @SubstackInc We're investigating reports that Twitter embeds and authentication no longer work on Substack. We are actively trying to resolve this and will share updates as additional information becomes available. 3:29 PM Apr 6, 2023 410K Views 1,025 Retweets 267 Quotes 3,852 Likes 84 Bookmarks


On April 7th, 2023, various Twitter users began to notice that new tweets linking to a "" domain were blocked from being replied to, retweeted or liked on Twitter.[3][4][5] However, substack links with a custom domain were able to be liked and retweeted, as were Substack links that used a URL shortener.

Also on April 7th, Twitter[7] user @krishnanrohit posted a tweet that read, "In other news, any link with substack in its name is now blocked on Twitter. You can post it, but you cannot like it or comment on it or retweet it," gathering over 3,200 likes in three days (seen below, left). That same day, Twitter[8] user @AdamBienkov posted a tweet showing interactions with a Substack link being blocked by Twitter, gathering over 600 likes in three days (seen below, right).

rohit @krishnanrohit In other news, any link with substack in its name is now blocked on Twitter. You can post it, but you cannot like it or comment on it or retweet it. Things that happen when your equity value is zero ... 4:01 AM. Apr 7, 2023 2.4M Views ● 767 Retweets 610 Quotes 3,297 Likes 182 Bookmarks Adam Bienkov @AdamBienkov I can't even reply to my own Tweet if it's got a Substack link in it Adam Bienkov @AdamBienkov • 42s So it looks like M*sk has now blocked retweets, likes and replies to Tweets with Substack links in them (a few still seem to be working). Just the richest man on the planet trying, on a whim, to prevent journalists and writers from earning a living Folded with Adam Bienkov 5:22 AM Apr 7, 2023 175.4K Views An independent progressive newsletter about UK politics written by the political journalist Adam Bienkov. Subscribe Some actions on this Tweet have been disabled by Twitter. +B 258 Retweets 37 Quotes 665 Likes 10 Bookmarks ... :

Throughout the day on April 7th, 2023, some users noted that Twitter was purportedly blocking interactions with a particular tweet[10] from @SubstackInc, although this block was subsequently lifted (seen below, left).[9] Twitter[12] user @MattBinder noted the block on interacting with Tweets from @SubstackInc as well (seen below, right). Substack co-founder Chris Best then reacted to the news later on the 7th as the controversy continued to grow.[13]

Erik Hoel @erikphoel You are not allowed to interact with this tweet from Substack, despite it containing no link to Substack itself. Substack ✔ @SubstackInc A statement from our founders: Any platform that benefits from writers' and creators' work but doesn't give them control over their relationships will inevitably wonder how to respond to the platforms that do. 2:38 PM 4/7/23 26.9K Views 96 Quotes 22 3:11 PM Apr 7, 2023 13.1K Views ● 0 ↑ Matt Binder @MattBinder looks like this is affecting certain Substack-related posts right here on Twitter if you attempt to quote tweet this Substack tweet, Twitter blocks users from interacting with your tweet i'm including this here as a screenshot because otherwise you can't share my tweet: Substack @SubstackInc We're investigating reports that Twitter embeds and authentication no longer work on Substack. We are actively trying to resolve this and will share updates as additional information becomes available. 3:29 PM - Apr 6, 2023.97K Views 182 Retweets 97 Quotes 632 Likes 20 Bookmarks 12:55 PM Apr 7, 2023 36.7K Views :

Matt Taibbi Announces Departure from Twitter

On April 7th, 2023, various Twitter users began to notice that interactions with tweets from Matt Taibbi promoting his Substack newsletter were being throttled as well. Taibbi is notable for being one of few journalists handpicked for writing about the Twitter Files story. Twitter user @MattBinder posted a tweet showing interactions with Taibbi's tweets being censored on April 7th,[14] going on to share screenshots from Taibbi's Substack chat in which Taibbi confirms that recent developments will make Twitter "unusable" for him (seen below).[15]

Also on April 7th, Elon Musk reportedly unfollowed Taibbi's Twitter account (seen below, left),[16] leading to people making jokes about Taibbi that perceived him as being a supporter of the Leopards Eating People's Faces Party. Twitter[17] user @OAlexanderDK posted one such tweet on April 7th, gathering over 15,000 likes in three days (seen below, right).

Big Tech Alert @BigTechAlert Automated O@Elon Musk (Account that mostly reposts old memes) is no longer following @mtaibbi 4:36 PM Apr 7, 2023 6.4M Views 1,409 Retweets 1,136 Quotes 11.2K Likes 282 Bookmarks Oliver Alexander @OAlexanderDK Matt Taibbi is leaving Twitter. You can't make this shit up. Textbook "Leopards Eating People's Faces Party" moment. Matt Taibbi @mtaibbi 18m Of all things: I learned earlier today that Substack links were being blocked on this platform. When I asked why, I was told it's a dispute over the new Substack Notes platform... 182 358 1.565 ₁103K ↑ Matt Taibbi @mtaibbi 9m Since sharing links to my articles is a primary reason I come to this platform, I was alarmed and asked what was going on. I was given the option of posting articles on Twitter instead. I'm obviously staying at Substack, and will be moving to Substack Notes next week. 80 107 ₁27,2K ↑ 4:17 PM Apr 7, 2023 3.6M Views 457 2,128 Retweets 300 Quotes 15.5K Likes 474 Bookmarks

On April 8th, Musk then replied to a tweet by @BretWeinstein denying that Substack links were "blocked" and alleging that Taibbi is an "employee" of Substack (seen below, left).[18] Later that day, Substack co-founder Chris Best posted a reply refuting all of Musk's statements on the beta stage Substack Notes feature (seen below, right).[19]

Harry Bolz @elonmusk Replying to @BretWeinstein 1. Substack links were never blocked. Matt's statement is false. 2. Substack was trying to download a massive portion of the Twitter database to bootstrap their Twitter clone, so their IP address is obviously untrusted. 3. Turns out Matt is/was an employee of Substack. Readers added context they thought people might want to know Regarding the first claim, Substack links themselves may not have been blocked, but interactions (likes, retweets, and replies) with tweets containing Substack links were definitely blocked. Preventing engagement with tweets will drastically limit their exposure. Do you find this helpful? 5:49 AM. Apr 8, 2023 1.4M Views Rate it Context is written by people who use Twitter, and appears when rated helpful by others. Find out more. 1,085 Retweets 738 Quotes 5,645 Likes 276 Bookmarks : Chris Best now None of this is true. 1. Substack links have been obviously severely throttled on Twitter. Anyone using the product can see this. 2. We have used the Twitter API, for years, to help writers. We believe we're in compliance with the terms, but if they have any specific concerns we would love to know about them! We'd be happy to address any issues. 3. @Matt Taibbi is not and has never been an employee of Substack. He writes a Substack, and gets paid directly by his readers. That writers making money seems to be such a strange concept is telling. This is very frustrating. It's one thing to mess with Substack, but quite another to treat writers this way.

After April 8th, various users began noticing that searches for the word "Substack" on Twitter directed to the word "newsletter" instead.[20][21]

Search Interest

External References

[1] Twitter – SubstackInc

[2] The Verge – Substack

[3] Twitter – Noahpinion

[4]  Twitter – LibbyKerensky

[5] Twitter – coldhealing

[6] Twitter – SubstackInc

[7] Twitter – krishnanrohit

[8] Twitter – AdamBienkov

[9] Twitter – erikphoel

[10] Twitter – SubstackInc

[11] Twitter – broderick

[12] Twitter – MattBinder

[13] Twitter – cjgbest

[14] Twitter – MattBinder

[15] Twitter – MattBinder

[16] Twitter – BigTechAlert

[17] Twitter – OAlexanderDK

[18] Twitter – elonmusk

[19] Twitter – kenklippenstein

[20] Twitter – atrupar

[21] Twitter – SethAbramson

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