Twitter Restricts Promotion of Substack Links, Causing Backlash from Writers and Users

Twitter has reportedly restricted promotion and visibility for tweets with links to Substack posts, a move that has not gone well with people. The move reportedly began after Substack announced a new feature called “Notes,” which will allow users to publish small posts about things like “posts, quotes, comments, images, and links,” according to a blog post from Substack co-founders.[0] The Notes will have their own exclusive tab, distinct from Substack’s extended content, and the layout is intentionally modeled after Twitter.[0] Similar to tweets, individual notes can be appreciated, responded to, and shared again. Additionally, two separate tabs will be available: one for subscribed authors, and one for content from your “extended Substack network,” This structure is similar to Twitter’s “Following” and “For You” tabs.[0]

The founders of Substack have expressed their disappointment in Twitter’s decision to restrict writers’ ability to share their work, stating that “writers deserve the freedom to share links to Substack or anywhere else. 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.”[1]

On Friday, Matt Taibbi, who was chosen by Elon Musk to spread the “Twitter Files,” announced to his followers that he would be quitting Twitter. This came after the Chief Twit limited the sharing of Substack links earlier this week. Musk clicked the unfollow button on the Twitter Files reporter shortly after Taibbi sent his farewell email to Twitter. Musk sort-of explained his decision in a reply this week by claiming that Substack was “trying to download a massive portion of the Twitter database to bootstrap their Twitter clone” which is very funny — just imagine starting any sort of Twitter competitor and prepopulating it with the garbage of Twitter — and also a pretty huge claim to make without any evidence.[2]

The ban has not been acknowledged by Twitter or Musk so far.[3] Twitter has previously limited the exposure of competitors on its platform, indicating that this is not the first occurrence.[4] Several technology reporters were banned from Twitter in December for reporting on the controversy surrounding services that monitor the private jet of Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter.[4] As a result, many users migrated to alternative platforms like Mastodon, leaving Twitter.[4] After a few days, Twitter began to prohibit links to Mastodon and other rival social media platforms.

The move has led to criticism from many, who believe that such restrictions by Twitter are a threat to free speech and the free press. It remains to be seen whether Twitter will respond to the criticism and take any action to address the concerns raised by Substack and others.

0. “Twitter Goes to War With Substack” dot.LA, 7 Apr. 2023,

1. “‘Twitter Files’ journalist quits ‘unusable’ platform after Elon Musk puts restrictions on Substack” The Independent, 8 Apr. 2023,

2. “The feud between Elon Musk’s Twitter and Substack explained” Business Insider, 9 Apr. 2023,

3. “Substack writers say Twitter’s newsletter ban is bad for business — and worse for Twitter” The Verge, 7 Apr. 2023,

4. “The dumb reason Twitter won’t allow retweeting tweets linking to Substack” Ars Technica, 7 Apr. 2023,