Substack’s founders responded to Twitter’s restrictions on tweets that include links from the platform. They told The Verge writers “shouldn’t be tied to platforms where their relationship with their audience isn’t controlled and where the rules are subject to change at will.”
Twitter users discovered that they could not like, reply to or retweet tweets with Substack links on Thursday night. Twitter has not yet revealed why the change was made or if it was intentional. However, the timing of the announcement by Substack is suspicious.
There is precedent for Twitter to restrict links from rival platforms. In December, Twitter abruptly removed all links to Instagram, Mastodon and other rivals, before quickly reversing the decision. Twitter also began charging developers for its API. Many have had difficulty keeping their Twitter apps and bots alive since that time.
We reached out to Twitter for comments, but the company’s press mail auto-replied with a “poop emoji”, which has been occurring since March.
Twitter has now restricted the use of Substack links in tweets since this issue was raised. Twitter allows direct links to be tweeted. However, retweeting an original post is not possible because “Some actions in this Tweet were disabled by Twitter.”
Responding to a Substack tweet with a Substack hyperlink is met by another error message: “Something went terribly wrong. But don’t worry, let’s try again.” ShortURL and other link-changing services can work around this.
Substack launched Notes, a Twitter competitor and alternate on Wednesday. In a blog post, the founders stated that they believed there was something better if writers or readers had more control and were treated with more priority than advertisers. “And culture makers could find financial independence without having to submit to corporate marketing budgets and attention games.”