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Twitter users reported being unable to like or retweet posts that linked to Substack on Thursday, a restriction that came one day after the subscription newsletter service released its own Twitter-like Notes product — sparking suspicions of a retaliatory move by Elon Musk’s company.
Twitter users noticed they received an error message when they tried to like, retweet or reply to some tweets with Substack links in them, a problem which appears to have been fixed, at least on the original tweets where the problem was first flagged.
While Twitter has not yet commented publicly on the issue and did not respond to Forbes’ request for comment, Substack released a statement Friday saying it was “disappointed” by the restrictions, which it sees as a reminder of the importance of free press and free speech.
The day before restrictions were noticed, Substack announced Notes, a feature that lets users publish short posts, and like, reshare, reply and scroll through others’ posts on a feed resembling other social media platforms.
Substack offers a platform for independent journalists and writers to publish their content and charge a subscription fee to their followers, offering an alternative to the traditional media publishing ecosystem. Its new Notes feature, which was immediately likened by tech media to Twitter, is based on subscriptions, which is supposed to incentivize more quality content instead of posts that are more optimized to go viral, the co-founders said in their introduction of the software. It comes as Twitter CEO Elon Musk is pushing his own subscription service, Twitter Blue, which offers unique benefits—like being able to make edits to a tweet after its posted—but has garnered criticism from users of the historically free app.
Thursday’s dustup with Substack was not the first time Twitter has restricted a competitor since Musk took over the company. In December, it banned all links to Instagram and Mastodon before reversing the decision soon after.
Substack is getting tweets — err, ‘Notes’ (The Verge)
Twitter’s Blue Checkmarks: Here’s Who Gets To Keep Them And Who Says They Won’t Pay Up (Forbes)