A day after journalist Matt Taibi—including billionaire CEO Elon Musk selected, with great fanfare, to let the world know about the so-called Twitter Files – Twitter dropped suddenly and very publicly, Musk criticized his former golden boy as a liar, and an “employee” of Sub-stackwhose work operations he continued to criticize.
Then Substack co-founder and CEO Chris Best took to social media to claim that “none” of what Musk had argued was true, including his claim that Taibbi was an employee. from Substack.
On Friday, Musk, who was reportedly upset by a new feature introduced by Substack which could be considered a Twitter competitor – pushed a code tweak which prevented users to engage with anything that has to do with Substack.
This meant that people were blocked from liking, pinning, retweeting or replying to tweets containing Substack links. But Twitter has long been a crucial tool for Substackers, including Taibbi, to get their work seen. On Saturday, Best called Musk’s decision “very frustrating.”
Since Musk took over Twitter last year in a $44 billion deal, users have complained about the many changes introduced by the new mercurial leader. The second richest man in the world has, among other things, downgraded the platform’s security features, started tweeting users from people they don’t follow, and mislabeled NPR’s account as ” state media.
Many decried the moves as having been driven by Musk’s ego, and others simply as unpopular and unpopular attempts to monetize Twitter.
After implementing the substack change, Taibbi, a former rolling stone A “gonzo” journalist whose politics has recently shifted somewhat to the right, said that not being able to share Substack links on Twitter would make the platform “unusable for me”.
In an email to subscribers, Taibbi wrote, “Earlier this afternoon I learned that Substack links were blocked on Twitter. Since being able to share my articles is one of the main reasons I use Twitter, I was alarmed and asked what was going on. It turns out that Twitter is upset about the new Substack Notes feature, which they see as a hostile rival. When I asked how I was supposed to market my work, I was given the option to post my articles on Twitter instead of Substack.
Taibbi told readers that he would stay at Substack, acknowledging that he would likely no longer have access to “Twitter Files” data (which has largely been a bustwhen the details of the supposed government and the left “censorship” did not been blatantly reported).
Shortly after Taibbi made the surprise announcement, Musk – unsurprisingly –didn’t follow him.
On Saturday morning, Musk continued to publicly lash out. In a Tweet posted at 5:49 a.m., he wrote:
1. Substack links have never been blocked. Matt’s statement is false.
2. Substack was trying to download a massive chunk of Twitter database to start their Twitter clone, so their IP is obviously unreliable.
3. It turns out that Matt is/was an employee of Substack.
As Taibbi and other writers make money from Substack subscriptions, following Musk’s claims, Best Substack CEO turned to his company’s apparent “Twitter-killer,” which is still in beta, with a strongly worded point-by-point rebuttal.
“None of this is true,” Best began, noting that Twitter had indeed “severely throttled” Substack links. “Anyone using the product can see it.”
Substack has always complied with Twitter’s API rules, Best continued. He asked anyone with specific concerns to let him know and that he would ensure that any issues were resolved.
“@Matt Taibbi is not and never has been an employee of Substack,” Best replied to Musk’s third allegation. “He writes a Substack and gets paid directly by his readers. That writers make money seems like such a strange concept, it’s telling.
Best concluded by writing, “It’s very frustrating. It’s one thing to mess with Substack, but it’s another to treat writers that way.
Twitter’s press team responded to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on Saturday with an auto-reply containing a poo emoji.