Twitter blocks interactions on tweets with Substack links
Substack users woke to a strange surprise today when trying to share links on Twitter, finding an error message when interacting with any tweet featuring a Substack link. Tweets with an outgoing link to Substack cannot be retweeted, replied to or even liked. The error message states that “some actions on this tweet have been disabled by Twitter.” The loss in functionality even extends to tools like TweetDeck.
You can still tweet out Substack links, but that is where engagement ends. This could be a garden variety error, but it could be a response by Musk and Twitter to Substack’s . After all, Twitter is no stranger to silencing rivals, . The social network briefly placed restrictions on tweets with outgoing links to , even outlawing outgoing links to other social media profiles in bios. Musk has also experimented with banning journalists who cover Twitter and made other questionable decisions for a self-proclaimed free-speech absolutist.
The founders of Substack issued a response to the move and it certainly seems like they believe the restrictions were instituted on purpose and not part of a system error.
“We’re disappointed that Twitter has chosen to restrict writers’ ability to share their work. Writers deserve the freedom to share links to Substack or anywhere else. This abrupt change is a reminder of why writers deserve a model that puts them in charge,” the founders wrote.
There is another option beyond spite or a system error. It is possible Substack ran afoul of Twitter’s recently-announced API pricing scheme. The sheer number of links to Substack content from users would force the company to invest in the Enterprise-level API at $42,000 a month. If Substalk balked about these costs and Twitter caught wind of it, this could be another
A statement from our founders:
Any platform that benefits from writers’ and creators’ work but doesn’t give them control over their relationships will inevitably wonder how to respond to the platforms that do.
— Substack (@SubstackInc) April 7, 2023
Substack says it is the newly-imposed restrictions and that it will “share updates as additional information becomes available.” The company shared a blog post in which it expressed hope that these moves were made in error and stated that “cracks are starting to show in the internet’s legacy business models.” We reached out to Substack and will update this post if the situation changes or if functionality is restored.