Archive for April 10, 2023

Monday, April 10, 2023

Twitter Restricts Substack Links

Timothy B. Lee (Hacker News):

Twitter users on Friday began noticing that they could not retweet or reply to tweets containing links to the domain. This behavior seems to have started less than 48 hours after the popular newsletter platform announced a new product called Notes that will compete directly with Twitter.


In the last 24 hours, Twitter also appears to have started blocking tweet-embedding in Substack posts.


I emailed Twitter’s official press email address,, for comment. Twitter automatically replies to all emails at that account with the message “💩.”

Elon Musk:

  1. Substack links were never blocked.[…]
  2. Substack was trying to download a massive portion of the Twitter database to bootstrap their Twitter clone, so their IP address is obviously untrusted.
  3. Turns out Matt [Taibbi] is/was an employee of Substack.

As far as I can tell, (1) and (3) are false.

See also: The Verge.


Twitter is now censoring competitors by outright lying and placing false “this is harmful/spam” warnings when clicking on competitors’ links. This caused me to (for the n-th time since 2022) Google for “Twitter alternatives”. But clear results are hard to find in today’s SEO-mess, and sifting through old/unstructured news articles isn’t ideal either. So I spent a few hours making (and

It’s a simple table of all currently known Twitter Alternatives and their main traits, like Top Countries, Platforms, Security, Notable Accounts, etc.


My main learning from this is that surprisingly, nobody has literally just cloned Twitter and focused on porting everyone over.


[Nilay Patel:] Just to be clear, Elon’s claim is: “Substack was trying to download a massive portion of the Twitter database to bootstrap their Twitter clone.” Were you doing that?

[Chris Best:] No. And it’s one of several claims that got bandied around during this time. It’s not true.


We’ve been trying every route that we can to calm this down and sort of find a peaceful resolution that can help writers. That hasn’t totally worked, and we haven’t had any answers to our specific questions of, “Are there things that we could do to make this better?”


Are there things that we could do to resolve this? They haven’t answered with any specifics.

Mike Masnick:

You’ve likely heard about recent leaks of Pentagon documents that were first leaked via a Discord server. On Wednesday, the Washington Post’s Shane Harris and Samuel Oakford broke quite a story about where the documents came from, discussing the small, private Discord group, and the guy who operated it, who apparently went to great lengths to leak these classified documents.


Anyhow, all that is lead up to the fact that Twitter now appears to be permanently suspending at least some accounts that have shared the Washington Post story.

Cabel Sasser:

I just want to confirm: this was 1000% a lie, right?

Amanda Silberling (via John Gruber):

Numerous Twitter users are reporting a bug in which Circle tweets — which are supposed to reach a select group, like an Instagram Close Friends story — are surfacing on the algorithmically generated For You timeline. That means that your supposedly private posts might breach containment to reach an unintended audience, which could quickly spark some uncomfortable situations.


Microsoft Teams Rewrite

Jeff Teper (via Ben Sandofsky, Slashdot):

We have been listening to your feedback which has culminated in a reimagining of Teams from the ground up. The new app is built on a foundation of speed, performance, flexibility, and intelligence—delivering up to two times faster performance while using 50 percent less memory so you can save time and collaborate more efficiently.


We are targeting the general availability of new Teams later this year in 2023. In the meantime, we encourage our commercial customers using Windows to try the public preview, which is rolling out starting today. We intend to extend the preview release to a broader set of customers, including those using Macs later this year.

Jérôme Danthinne:

[Dropping Electron] But still not going native, but Webview + React.

Microsoft Teams (via Casey Muratori, Hacker News):

This video showcases some of the key speed and performance advantages of new Teams over classic Teams.

The new version takes 9.1 seconds to launch, 3.5 seconds to switch between chats and channels, and uses almost 600 MB of RAM when idle.


Substack Pricing Experiment

Gergely Orosz:

Wow. @SubstackInc experimented with pricing, reducing it by 1 cent, so e.g. instead of $10/month, do $9.99/month.

The result?

A significant decrease for the pricing ending with .99. Which goes against conventional pricing wisdom!!


The actual appearance of your published prices can have subconscious effects on your potential customers that increase sales. In some cases, smaller details like ending your prices in 0’s or 5’s and avoiding decimal pricing can justify a higher price by presenting an image of higher quality. This type of psychological pricing strategy is used in high end restaurants all the time, and you rarely see a price like “8.99” for a meal unless you’re in a chain or franchise establishment. Prices ending in 9 are meant to persuade consumers they’re getting a bargain, but prices consisting of round numbers (no cents, no decimals) can subliminally convince customers that your company has integrity and your product is sophisticated. In other words, it’s worth the high price they pay.

Elizabeth Lopatto:

Substack is desperate, huh? That’s what I understand from their fundraising email, anyway. They’re now hitting up retail investors for millions of dollars after they failed to raise last year.


Substack makes its money by taking a 10 percent cut of the subscription fees its newsletter writers charge. (Its payment processor takes another 4 percent, according to Wefunder.) The company says it paid out more than $300 million to writers, cumulatively.


Doubled their revenue in a year! Not too bad. I might have some other feelings if I knew anything about their cost basis, but unfortunately, I don’t. So I don’t know if the company is profitable, but I am going to take a flying leap and assume not — because in this environment, profitability is something to brag about.


Bakery 2.11

Jordi Bruin (via Paul Hudson):

Generate beautiful placeholder app icons for your Xcode projects with Bakery!

If your homescreens are filled with apps with the white placeholder icon, Bakery is for you! Quickly generate beautiful simple and distinctive app icons that make your (side) projects stand out!

This looks cool, though I’m not sure whether it’s still under development. The last update was a year ago, and the Web site is down.

Update (2023-04-21): Jordi Bruin:

I’ll release Bakery 3.0 if it beats out Rocketsim 😉

Jordi Bruin:

I need to get my company site up again. V3.0 is coming in may 🙂