‘Twitter Files’ Reporter Matt Taibbi Leaves Twitter in Protest Over Throttling of Substack Links

‘Twitter Files’ Reporter Matt Taibbi Leaves Twitter in Protest Over Throttling of Substack Links
Journalist Matt Taibbi testifies at the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government hearing on “The Twitter Files” in Washington on March 9, 2023, in a still from video. (House Judiciary Committee/Screenshot via NTD)
Tom Ozimek

Journalist Matt Taibbi, who broke the sensational “Twitter Files” story that exposed the inner workings of the social media giant’s censorship machine, has announced he’s leaving Twitter in protest of apparent changes that have made the platform unusable for him.

Taibbi, who posts his articles on Substack and is one of the most popular contributors on the platform, made the announcement in a post titled “The Craziest Friday Ever“ and a series of tweets, in which he said that he had just learned that Substack links were being blocked on Twitter.
“When I asked why, I was told it’s a dispute over the new Substack Notes platform,” Taibbi wrote in a tweet.

“It turns out Twitter is upset about the new Substack Notes feature, which they see as a hostile rival,” Taibbi wrote on the Substack platform, adding that when he asked how he was supposed to market his work, he was given the option of posting his articles on Twitter rather than on Substack.

“Not much suspense there; I’m staying at Substack,” Taibbi wrote. “Beginning early next week I’ll be using the new Substack Notes feature (to which you’ll all have access) instead of Twitter, a decision that apparently will come with a price as far as any future Twitter Files reports are concerned.

“It was absolutely worth it and I’ll always be grateful to those who gave me the chance to work on that story, but man is this a crazy planet,” he added.

Substack recently announced Notes, a feature that allows short-form posts similar to tweets.

The move appears to have prompted Twitter to retaliate by blocking the ability to share Substack links on Twitter or like, retweet, and comment on tweets that include a link to Substack articles.

‘Throttling Links’?

The Substack account on Twitter said in a statement that it’s “investigating reports that Twitter embeds and authentication no longer work on Substack. We are actively trying to resolve this and will share updates as additional information becomes available.”

Twitter replied to a request for comment from The Epoch Times with its standard automated response to media queries—a poop emoji.

But Twitter CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet that Taibbi’s assertion that Substack links were being blocked on Twitter is false.

“Substack links were never blocked. Matt’s statement is false,” Musk wrote.

Musk said that Substack was trying to “download a massive portion of the Twitter database to bootstrap their Twitter clone, so their IP address is obviously untrusted.”

Substack co-founder, Chris Best, pushed back on Musk’s claims in a statement provided to The Epoch Times by the company’s communications chief.

“Substack links have been obviously severely throttled on Twitter. Anyone using the product can see this,” Best said.

He added that Substack has used Twitter’s API for years to help writers and “we believe we’re in compliance with the terms, but if they have any specific concerns we would love to know about them” and would be “happy to address any issues.”

“This is very frustrating,” Best added.

An Epoch Times review of Twitter posts with Substack links shows that Twitter has started marking links to Substack as unsafe.

Click on a link on Twitter with substack.com in the URL and Twitter will show a warning stating that “the link you are trying to access has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially spammy or unsafe.”

Also, attempts to like or retweet a Twitter post with a Substack link don’t work and show the message “Some actions on this Tweet have been disabled by Twitter.”

Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.
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