Twitter Bans Substack. Hounder Discord LIVE.
Before I dive in, a note to Hounders (AKA paying members): The link to the new Discord is below, so please be sure to scroll down and join.
Hi Everyone -
As you may have seen, Twitter has chosen to severely throttle Substack on its platform. This appears to be a retaliatory move in response to the forthcoming Substack Notes platform, which seems as though it will be a direct competitor to Twitter.
Obviously this affects The Monty Report, so I have been following it closely.
So what does “severely throttle” mean?
Some Tweets that link to Substack - or even mention Substack - are hidden from the feed and are literally impossible to like or retweet or comment on.
When you click on some Substack links, Twitter tells you the link is unsafe.
If you search for the official Substack Twitter account, you can’t find it. Even if you type in their handle exactly in the search bar (“@SubstackInc”), their profile will not appear. They are effectively banned, since they can’t be found.
If you search for the word “Substack,” Twitter changes your search to “Newsletter.”
Twitter has made it impossible to embed Tweets into Substack articles. In the past, for example, I would embed clickable tweets directly into my interviews. I can no longer do that. Substack, unlike Twitter, does not restrict links. So I can still post a link to a Tweet (like this) or I can resort to a workaround where I post a screenshot with a link in the caption, like this:
There are likely other issues as well, ranging from shadow bans of hounds like me who are promoting these links or surfacing these issues, and other behind-the-scenes authoritarian bullshit. Twitter seems to be introducing more throttles by the day, so the landscape is evolving.
If it’s not clear to you by now, make no mistake: Elon Musk does not actually care about free speech or censorship or “being a digital town square” (all claims he has made in the past). He has devolved into a petty and insecure marketer with a pathological tendency toward lying and a toddler-level need for attention.
Some context is worth noting here: I am not a long-time Musk hater. Until recently, I actually believed that Musk stood for things — good things! At this point, I no longer believe that he has any real principles (unless you count “whatever is best for Elon’s ego” as a principle). It is truly sad to see.
The thing is, all of this would be forgettable internet gossip if Elon didn’t have so much power. But because he does wield incredible power and influence, his pettiness and need for attention have moved from immature and ignorable to authoritarian and dangerous. Musk has transitioned from “weird guy who is definitely a net positive for the world” to “probably a net negative for the world.”
As I Tweeted a few days ago, “the rise of platform authoritarianism is deeply troubling, especially for a site like this one that should be public infrastructure.”
Now more than ever it is critical for creators and writers like me to own direct access to their audience.
Over the coming weeks and months, I will be working on fortifying The Monty Report from the whims of Elon.
The first step in this process is the launch of The Hound House Discord.
The second step is to join Substack Notes alongside thousands of other writers and readers. I hope we can make a good run in moving the digital art and NFT collector communities over to a new platform.
The third step is to figure out more aggressive strategies to grow this email list.
For today, let’s focus on step 1.
If you are a Hounder, read on for details and the link to The Hound House Discord.
If you are not a Hounder, you may become one by subscribing here, and then you will be able to see the rest of this post. (At some point in the future, we will also open some public channels in the Discord). If you want to subscribe, and pay in crypto, simply DM me on Twitter.