Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was ripped Sunday after promoting an open-source newsletter platform that offers “freedom” to independent writers.
Dorsey tweeted Saturday of the open-source newsletter website Ghost as an alternative to Substack, a popular newsletter service used by a number of prominent journalists including former New York Times writers Andrew Sullivan and Bari Weiss, and Pulitzer Prize winner Glenn Greenwald.
“For those of you on substack: why not use @ghost instead?” Dorsey tweeted. “Is the payment you get from substack inc. greater than the freedom ghost would provide?”
For those of you on substack: why not use @ghost instead?
Is the payment you get from substack inc. greater than the freedom ghost would provide?
(it does have a centralized dependency on stripe…which could be fixed with bitcoin/lightning integration)https://t.co/TEydjPTaGy pic.twitter.com/IEsPbJ1AbX
— jack⚡️ (@jack) January 30, 2022
Dorsey’s comments came a few days after Substack Vice President of Communications Lulu Cheng Meservey published an extensive Twitter thread affirming Substack’s commitment to free expression on their platform. “An important principle for us is defending free expression, even for stuff we personally dislike or disagree with,” Meservey tweeted.
At Substack, we don’t make moderation decisions based on public pressure or PR considerations.
An important principle for us is defending free expression, even for stuff we personally dislike or disagree with. We understand principles come at a cost. 🧵
— Lulu Cheng Meservey (@lulumeservey) January 26, 2022
Twitter users were quick to point this out, and eviscerated Twitter’s track record on censorship while he was CEO of Twitter.
“Substack just published the boldest defense of free speech we’ve seen from a tech company in recent memory. Not really that interested in the opinions of those who didn’t stand for it when they had the chance,” tech investor Katherine Boyle tweeted.
Substack just published the boldest defense of free speech we’ve seen from a tech company in recent memory.
Not really that interested in the opinions of those who didn’t stand for it when they had the chance. https://t.co/QtQqrL6TQT
— Katherine Boyle (@KTmBoyle) January 30, 2022
“Substack has an unparalleled record when it comes to standing up for free speech,” Independent journalist Jordan Schachtel, who advertises his newsletter in his Twitter handle, replied to Dorsey. “I specifically chose not to use Twitter’s newsletter service because I feared censorship,” he added.
Substack has an unparalleled record when it comes to standing up for free speech. Of course, it’s not perfect, but I’m very happy with Substack. I specifically chose not to use Twitter’s newsletter service because I feared censorship.
— Jordan Schachtel @ dossier.substack.com (@JordanSchachtel) January 30, 2022
“You suspended me for tweeting a picture of Hunter Biden. Why would I trust you on matters of free speech?” political satirist and former PJ media columnist Jim Treacher, who also advertises his Substack link in his Twitter handle, tweeted.
You suspended me for tweeting a picture of Hunter Biden. Why would I trust you on matters of free speech?
— jimtreacher.substack.com (@jtLOL) January 30, 2022
One user also posted a screenshot of Ghost’s terms of service, which shows that the service has many of the same rigorous restrictions on alleged hate speech that Twitter does.
No idea. https://t.co/UIa6dmiVU6 pic.twitter.com/vSOQsi3ohW
— Gaddius Maximus (@GaddiusMaximus) January 30, 2022
A number of other responses are as follows:
You banned people on your platform for saying “learn to code”
Think any endorsement from you is a hard pass. https://t.co/UWwypva6Sh
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) January 30, 2022
Jack, if Twitter arbitrarily censors people why would anyone trust ghost? Substack has a reputation for respecting speech. Twitter does not, and no one should expect ghost would.
— Brian Sack (@brian_sack) January 30, 2022
I have absolute freedom to write whatever I like on @SubstackInc and don’t fear any reprisals.
They don’t arbitrarily yank people off their platform….as happened many times on Twitter when you were in charge, @jack. https://t.co/rPCiU9UGWt
— Antonio García Martínez (agm.eth) (@antoniogm) January 30, 2022
No content creator should trust a pitch from the man who created the hellsite known as Twitter. https://t.co/crCdcnTb8k
— Geoffrey Cain (@geoffrey_cain) January 30, 2022
When a Silicon Valley tech mogul who de-platformed ideological rivals at will talks about “freedom”, you know how to treat his recco. Also, interesting to see @SubstackInc creating a churn. https://t.co/oDWeZgn2mX
— Sreemoy Talukdar (@sreemoytalukdar) January 30, 2022
cuz your last website is the worst shit on earth
— ⚡David Angelo⚡ (@MrDavidAngelo) January 30, 2022
Don’t you think that eliminating the need to care about your opinion is why people are on Substack? Your endorsement of anything is a poison pill for many people.
— Ross Kaminsky (@Rossputin) January 30, 2022
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