Twitter is censoring Substack links by making it impossible to respond, like, or retweet them. While quote-tweeting works, pressing the retweet button results in the following error message: “Some actions on this Tweet have been disabled by Twitter.”
The timing of this action does not appear to be coincidental. Substack launched its Notes feature two days ago, which looks very similar to Twitter. Unlike other new Twitter alternatives, Substack has a significant advantage: people use it, and many writers already have large followings there. Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss are two such writers, with whom Twitter CEO Elon Musk collaborated to publish “The Twitter Files.”
Under Musk’s ownership, Twitter has also taken steps to suppress content from Mastodon, an open source social network that grew rapidly after Musk took over Twitter. Mastodon’s account was temporarily suspended in December, and posting links to Mastodon servers was prohibited. Mastodon said on its formerly banned Twitter account, “Not a good sign if you need to build a wall to keep people in.”
Musk is an outspoken critic of the mainstream media, even labelling NPR’s account as “state-affiliated media.” These labels are typically reserved for publications that lack editorial independence from state government, but the government has no say in NPR’s content; additionally, the news organisation received only about 1% of its budget from federal funding in 2020.