Substack Launches Twitter Competitor ‘Notes’ After Public Spat with Elon musk

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 02: Elon Musk attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America:
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Popular newsletter site Substack has launched a new “Notes” feature where users can post shorter text posts and images. The new feature could serve as a potential competitor for Twitter, drawing the ire of Elon Musk.

The Verge reports that Notes, a new feature for shorter posts from Substack, may provide writers on the platform with a viable alternative to Twitter. The announcement was made following Twitter’s designation of Substack links as “unsafe.”

As Breitbart News reported:

Forbes reports that Elon Musk, has spoken out about the dispute between the social media behemoth and the online publishing platform Substack, particularly in relation to Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi. Twitter was accused of severely restricting the sharing of Substack content, by Taibbi, who announced his plans to leave Twitter on Friday. In his reply, Musk attacked Taibbi as a liar and insisted that Substack links had never been blocked.

“Substack links were never blocked. Matt’s statement is false,” Musk tweeted on Saturday. Incredibly, Musk’s statements were fact checked by his own community notes system.

Musk’s statement may technically be true, but it doesn’t provide a complete picture. In fact, Twitter has made it very difficult for users to access Substack content by putting up barriers like warnings that Substack links might be dangerous or contain malicious content. Twitter also prevents users from liking or retweeting tweets containing Substack links. The screenshot below demonstrates what users face when attempting to engage with tweets containing Substack links.

“Notes could prove to be a worthy Twitter alternative for some, especially for Substack writers who have already built audiences on the platform and are looking for a new place to post,” said Helen Tobin, a Substack representative. Notes won’t have a character limit, and the feature will be distinct from complete newsletters and chat threads. According to Tobin, users can share “posts, quotes, comments, images, and links” in Notes.


Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils the new Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010. The new Tesla factory is the former NUMMI plant. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Up to six photos or GIFs can be posted at a time in notes, but videos are not supported. Shared Notes won’t be sent to subscriber inboxes, but the feature will offer interaction options like likes, replies, and “restacks” (similar to retweets). They will instead be available through the Substack website and app.

Users will have access to “Home” and “Subscribed,” two feeds. Users may be introduced to new content producers by the “Home” feed, which will feature Notes from writers they subscribe to and those they recommend. In contrast, the “Subscribed” feed will only show Notes from writers who have subscribed.

Substack thinks the Notes feature will make it easier for authors to gain subscribers by focusing on users who are already engaged with the platform. The business claims that users of Notes are “just one click away from a subscription.”

Despite Twitter relaxing its Substack restrictions, some well-known creators have declared their intention to switch to Notes. As it becomes the sole platform for some writers, this change could help the new feature gain traction.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan


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