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Speculation That Twitter Disabled Posting, Retweeting Of Substack Links Spreads
on the heels of substack announcing its development of 'notes', a twitter-like feed, some users can't really engage with or post substack urls (including us)
Note to subscribers: Happy Friday. This morning, we haven’t been able to reliably share Pirate Wires links on Twitter. When we tried to share this story, for example, we got an error message: "Some actions on this Tweet have been disabled by Twitter." This seems to be the case for some or many Substack links, Twitter-wide — more on that below — though it’s tough to understand the scope of it right now. And after several attempts over the course of a half hour, we were able to tweet this story.
But we’re not taking anything for granted.
Because we respect your inbox, we try to be selective about the stories we send out over email. We’ve been using Twitter to distribute all our content, which includes reporting on tech, AI, and the clown world. And though our instinct here is that this retweet/ posting situation is temporary, we wanted to let you guys know that the best way to currently get all our content is by directly checking piratewires.com.
Touch grass this weekend,
Posting Substack URLs, and retweeting, quote tweeting, and replying to tweets of some new Substack URLS seems to have been disabled or is otherwise, currently, very unreliable. Users are sharing screenshots that read “Some actions on this tweet have been disabled by Twitter.”
On April 5, Substack announced that it planned to roll out its Notes feature, a Twitter-like, subscription-based recommendation feed. From their announcement:
While Notes may look like familiar social media feeds, the key difference is in what you don’t see. The Substack network runs on paid subscriptions, not ads. This changes everything.
The lifeblood of an ad-based social media feed is attention. In legacy social networks, people get rewarded for creating content that goes viral within the context of the feed, regardless of whether or not people value it, locking readers in a perpetual scroll. Almost all the attendant financial rewards then go to the owner of the platform.
By contrast, the lifeblood of a subscription network is the money paid to people who are doing worthy work within it. Here, people get rewarded for respecting the trust and attention of their audiences. The ultimate goal on this platform is to convert casual readers into paying subscribers. In this system, the vast majority of the financial rewards go to the creators of the content.
That same day, Twitter seems to have taken an action that prevents Substack users from embedding tweets in Substack posts.
It isn’t totally clear if this is a coincidence. In the last hour, we weren’t able to share the URL of this page on Twitter multiple times. Later, we did post it successfully. But at the same time, we weren’t able to retweet or like several other Tweets with Substack links, such as this one.
We were also unable to post a tweet that included Substack’s @ handle: @SubstackInc. When we removed the handle, but left all other text the same, we were able to post the tweet.
Preventing users from sharing Substack links seems like a shot across the bow at Substack, by Twitter, in response to Notes, which Twitter seems to see as competition. But a moratorium on Substack links will reduce the visibility of independent journalists and content creators, while mainstream media publications remain unaffected. And right now, journalists and content creators on Substack can not just jump to Twitter, as there is no long-form, subscriber-based alternative to Substack there.
Update 4/7 11:30 PT: Substack has responded, doubling down and logging the block as a sign of progress (if it’s not an error). From the post:
[T]oday 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. 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.
Read the post in full here —
This post is being updated throughout the day.