Elon Musk in a Bind over Substack

Twitter blocks Substack links. There has been an ongoing spat between Elon Musk and Substack. Matt Taibbi, who along with others was given exclusive access to the ‘Twitter Files’, has quit Twitter over Substack links being censored.

[Right now though, I am able to share Substack links on Twitter without any problems, nor am I getting any warning popups. And I am able to like and retweet Substack links, so maybe Elon changed his mind given all the negative attention he was getting.]

Substack has benefited enormously from the Twitter Files and Elon’s acquisition of Twitter, having received considerable traffic at no cost from Elon sharing Substack links on his own profile, and Substack links otherwise going viral on Twitter as part of the post-2022 ‘anti-woke backlash’. The benefit has been mostly one-way, as it’s not like Elon gets anything in return or compensation from this, nor is he an investor in Substack (except for, I guess, ingratiating himself with the ‘cool kids’ of free speech, like Bari Weiss and Matt Taibbi).

If Elon were smarter, he would have invested in (or even acquired) Substack before unveiling the Twitter Files. He should have looked at this a few moves ahead, like in chess. So now he’s in a bind of promoting one of his biggest competitors on his own platform. And making matters worse, Substack unveiled a Twitter-like platform, Substack Notes, that visually resembles twitter (it’s pretty much a ripoff), which was the final straw:

If I were Musk I would be pissed. Substack took advantage of his generosity to launch a competitor, and he cannot do anything about it without garnering ton of bad press and losing his friends and ‘free speech’ alliances. By positioning himself as a free speech advocate, he put himself in a box which he cannot escape.

But at the same time, Just like the AI is not your friend, neither is Musk. Look how he did a reversal on Bitcoin and Doge. People who bought Dogecoin a week ago are down 15% after Musk without warning took the Doge logo down. He pumped Bitcoin in 2021, and Tesla dumped its Bitcoin position in 2022 at a small loss without telling anyone, but Bitcoin investors who heeded Musk were at one point down over 50%. You cannot trust that these people are looking out for your interests. It’s all business in the end. You have to assume that these people are only looking after themselves.

Or maybe Karma is sorta bitch given he is on the receiving end of getting screwed by Substack after having screwed others with shitty investments.