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UPDATED: What did Elon Musk do?
The Substack / Twitter Saga
On April 7th, users of Substack realized that when they’d post links to their posts, others could not engage with them in any way. They could not like, retweet, or comment (only quote tweet). It was also impossible to embed tweets in Substack posts. Soon, clicking on the link was met with a dire warning that the link may be leading to some dangerous website. It was deemed “unsafe.” This immediately triggered memories of Elon Musk arbitrarily blocking links to ALL exterior websites at one point, which was met with a backlash from an overwhelming majority of users—including his biggest supporters. He eventually quietly withdrew.
While all of this was going on, Substack issued a note to the authors/subscribers that read in part:
This is an argument I have long made about social media platforms. If you’re by some reason deplatformed, you want to move elsewhere, or the platform itself goes under, there’s zero recourse. You don’t even really have a way of reaching your audience all at once to let them know. This is critical.
But back to the story…
While many had given Twitter the benefit of the doubt, that this may be the result of a ‘glitch’ and not necessarily due to the recent announcement of Substack launching a new ‘Notes’ product, as others had speculated…a confirmation had seemingly surfaced from none other than TwitterFiles’ golden boy, Matt Taibbi:
Elon Musk had proceeded to have Taibbi’s account ‘search banned’.
This meant that while his account still showed up, if you searched from: mtaibbi you’d get no results of tweets coming FROM his accounts. This had lasted several days and was finally resolved as of the morning of April 10th. Users had reported that it made finding the various TwitterFiles he had authored more difficult.
Another search ban that appears to be on-going is if you enter Substack, the results will be replaced with “newsletter.”
There was no official acknowledgement for any of this from Elon nor Twitter until Bret Weinstein’s tweet on April 8:
This was Elon’s response:
One of Substack’s founders issued the following response:
As of the date of publication of this post, it is again possibly to post links to Substack, and they are no longer being marked unsafe. It is also possible to interact with them. However, there has been no further public acknowledgement on any of this since Elon’s reply to Weinstein.
When Musk took over Twitter, it was under the premise of having more transparency, clarity and the rules being applied equally. Looking into this situation, as well as some of the previous ones, is it fair to say that this is what’s actually happening?
For many Twitter users who have previously had a lot of support for Musk, this move undermines their trust in him and trust is one of the most difficult currencies to restore. As we well know, it is in particularly short supply these days.
[Update 4:06PM PST — Substack is now appearing in searches again.
The feud, however, continues:
What are your thoughts? Does this undermine your trust? Do you feel like Elon was in the wrong/right? Should links to other websites be allowed on Twitter?
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