On April 10, claiming that Substack links were “never blocked,” Musk finally explained himself: “Substack was temporarily categorized as ‘unsafe’ when we discovered that they were illegally downloading vast amounts of data to pre-populate their Twitter clone.”

Substack co-founder and CEO Chris Best denied the allegations, posting in a private Note that was shared with Quartz. “We have used the Twitter API, for years, to help writers,” Best wrote. “We believe we’re in compliance with the terms, but if they have any specific concerns we would love to know about them.”

Musk also extended his ire to Taibbi, who—seeing that Twitter was blocking Substack links—announced he would stop posting on Twitter and move to Substack Notes. Musk was enraged, falsely claiming that Taibbi is an employee of Substack and later tweeting out his private text messages to the journalist.

A misstep from Musk

Around the same time that Twitter shut down Revue, Musk began leaking documents to journalists—many of whom write Substack newsletters. The Twitter Files, Musk alleges, show liberal bias and close cooperation with government from Twitter’s former management.

Perhaps it didn’t occur to Musk that he could have had it both ways: If he wanted to play hardball, he simply could have kept Revue online and fed the documents to writers who used it or in exchange for switching to his platform. (Instead they posted directly on Twitter.)

Now Musk is arguing with Substack over a simple social media feature on its website and burning the very journalists he’s counted as allies for the past five months.

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