July 24, 2024

Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi announced on Friday that he is leaving the app over the latest move under Elon Musk’s leadership, and the reporter suggested the company intends to punish him for the decision as pertains to future Twitter Files releases.

One of the conditions of being given access to Twitter Files materials was that the reporters involved would have to create Twitter threads in order to release the information. But Taibbi and fellow independent journalist Bari Weiss both also put the revelations in lengthy posts on the Substack app, which allows writers to create online content that goes out as a newsletter.

When Substack announced a new feature that competes in the Twitter-style short post market, the Musk company responded as they had to other would-be competitors like Mastodon with retaliatory strikes on the ability to share links or even embed tweets in Substack posts.

When news first broke of the issues with Substack and Twitter it was not immediately clear the extent to which it was intentional, but Taibbi confirmed in an email to subscribers that Twitter is now treating Substack as a “hostile rival.”

In a Substack chat, Taibbi said the move makes Twitter “unusable” for him, and that he got no reply from Musk about it, as seen in screenshots from Mashable’s Matt Binder.

Under the email subject line “The Craziest Friday Ever” and subheading “On staying at Substack, and leaving Twitter, I guess” he wrote:

Earlier this afternoon, I learned Substack links were being blocked on Twitter. Since being able to share my articles is a primary reason I use Twitter, I was alarmed and asked what was going on.

It turns out Twitter is upset about the new Substack Notes feature, which they see as a hostile rival. When I asked how I was supposed to market my work, I was given the option of posting my articles on Twitter instead of Substack.

Not much suspense there; I’m staying at Substack. You’ve all been great to me, as has the management of this company. 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.

At the time of this post, Twitter CEO Musk has not commented on the fact that his decision to nerf Substack interactions has driven away the staunchest defender of the Twitter Files, who endured a brutal grilling on Capitol Hill, to leave the app.

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