Substack Is Now A Toy for the Deplatformed

What about Alex Berenson, Bari Weiss, and Glenn Greenwald have something in common? They were all grumbling against deplatform — whether it was a Twitter ban or the unemployment of a prestigious publication — just to find a new home and big fortune on Substack.

The hyped newsletter platform, was founded in 2017 and was honored as an alternative way of advancing for the ever-struggling ad-driven media industry, positioning itself as anti-Facebook—An area where quality and thoughtfulness prevail over participation algorithms. But some of the most famous writers are considered by many to be pushing the destructive issue. Such successes raise an awkward question for the new media darling: If Substack is the future, what future does it have?

For Substack CEO and cofounder, Chris Best, the future can no longer go back to the mistakes of the past. “The way we ended up, where we had this ad -supported, attention monster social media that dominates how people spend their time and attention, has some negative consequences.” Enter Substack. And Alex Berenson.

Berenson, formerly a New York Times The author, who was banned from Twitter in August 2021 for pushing false claims about the safety and effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines, has a thriving business at Substack. He earns an estimated $ 720,000 a year from his subscribers — albeit oddly not visible on the Substack leaderboard of leading writers. Best says Berenson’s loss to the Substack leaderboard was not a thoughtful choice not to promote him but “a technical glitch.” Even if Best can’t say when the glitch was discovered or when it would be fixed.

Glitch or not, Berenson’s popularity has created a potentially bad tension for Substack, presenting itself as an alternative to the ad-driven model — and the gaping economic flaws in the attention span. “We feel that the way the first generation of social media and internet gaming is basically ruining a lot of things,” he said. While Best recognizes social media and the early internet helped connect people in new ways, he believes it also broke the business models in the past for good writing in a way that is impossible to restore, even in many publications, the Nhe York Times perhaps chief among them, is the management of making big money from good writing.

Best believes Substack is a new way forward for the media world, and the herald of a new, democratic world. Social media has destroyed journalism, and Substack is here to save it. When they launched Substack, Best and his cofounders, Hamish McKenzie and Jairaj Sethi, made comparisons of newspaper printers from 200 years ago, saying their innovation was the same. the importance. It’s designed to prevent the media from being seen by cofounders as a vicious cycle of chasing clicks through anger as it goes viral on social media. “The incentive structure that’s been created because of that doesn’t support and reward good writing. It supports and rewards things that drive us crazy,” Best said. “And that’s a failure, for us as individuals who care about us. read and care to have a good view of the world, and for society at large because it confuses us. “

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