Matt Taibbi, the former Rolling Stone journalist who was given access to the Twitter Files by Elon Musk, reportedly had his official Twitter account “shadow banned” by the mogul after he refused to permanently decamp from his lucrative Substack subscription newsletter site.
Taibbi’s Twitter account was “max deboosted” — which means that Twitter placed visibility filters so that users who searched for the journalist’s account would not find it, according to Mashable reporter Matt Binder.
Binder posted a screenshot on April 8 of a search he did for Taibbi’s account, which turned up no results.
Another search done by The Post on Tuesday found Taibbi’s Twitter account.
The Post has sought comment from Twitter and Taibbi.
Taibbi announced over the weekend that he was leaving Twitter after Musk’s social media company blocked links to Substack in retaliation for its rollout of Notes, a competitor to the microblogging site.
Taibbi earns an estimated $500,000 a year from subscribers who pay a monthly fee for access to his newsletter posts.
The rupture between Musk and Taibbi is surprising given the latter’s authorship of the “Twitter Files” — internal company documents from the pre-Musk era which show the extent to which the tech giant was in cahoots with government agencies to suppress content deemed to be advantageous to Donald Trump.
Taibbi even testified before Congress last month and decried “digital McCarthyism” as practiced by Twitter under the old regime.
But last Thursday, Twitter prevented Substack writers who frequently use the app to promote their newsletters from posting links to their work.
The next day, Twitter blocked Substack newsletters from appearing on its platform.
Twitter users were barred from retweeting, replying, or liking any tweet that had a Substack link in it.
Musk claimed in a tweet that Taibbi was an employee of Substack. He also denied that Substack links were blocked from Twitter.
“I’ve never been a Substack employee,” Taibbi wrote in a blog post on Sunday.
“I have my own company, but I’m employed by subscribers.”
Taibbi added: “I have some loyalty to Substack, a company that’s always treated me well, and whose original Substack Pro offer made it possible for a person with kids like me to leave mainstream journalism.”
Substack Pro is a program whereby the company paid a writer a lump sum upfront to cover their first year on the platform.
In exchange, Substack keeps 85% of the subscription revenue during the first year — after which the writer gets to take home 90% of the subscription revenue.
The Post has sought comment from Substack.
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