Substack founders Chris Best, Hamish McKenzie and Jairaj Seth have responded to Twitter’s restrictions imposed on Substack writers.
The social-media app has made it challenging for Substack writers to embed tweets in their stories. Attempts to do so are met with a pop up message that reads “Twitter has unexpectedly restricted access to embedding tweets in Substack posts” and an explanation that the platform is working on fixing the problem.
In a new blog post today, the founders of Substack wrote that “he Substack model is thriving and “the proof is that the imitations are failing and the incumbents are resisting.”
“For example, today Twitter started blocking links to Substack. We hope this action was made in error and is only temporary. Writers deserve the freedom to share links to Substack or anywhere else,” the blog post continues. “However, even if this change is not temporary, it is a reminder of why cracks are starting to show in the internet’s legacy business models. When it comes to any of the other large platforms, the rules are the same. If writers and creators don’t own their relationships with their audiences, they’re not in control.”
When asked for comment, Substack’s Head of Communications Helen Tobin pointed us toward the above blog post as well as the following statement.
“We’re disappointed that Twitter has chosen to restrict writers’ ability to share their work. Writers deserve the freedom to share links to Substack or anywhere else,” Substack’s founders wrote. “This abrupt change is a reminder of why writers deserve a model that puts them in charge, that rewards great work with money, and that protects the free press and free speech. Their livelihoods should not be tied to platforms where they don’t own their relationship with their audience, and where the rules can change on a whim.”
Since that issue has cropped up, Twitter has also restricted tweets with links to Substack posts. The direct links can be tweeted, but retweeting the original post does not work because “Some actions on this Tweet have been disabled by Twitter.”
Replying to a tweet that contains a Substack link is met with another error message: “Something went wrong, but don’t fret — let’s give it another shot.” ShortURL and other link changing services work around that.
Substack launched “Notes,” a Twitter competitor and alternative, on Wedesday.
“We thought there could be something better if writers and readers were given more control and treated as a higher priority than advertisers,” the founders wrote in a blog post. “And if culture makers could find financial dignity without needing to sublimate themselves to attention games and corporate marketing budgets.”