Substacks co-founder says the platform does not condone bigotry, nor does the platform like it, but he however does not explain just how Notes will be moderating it. and according to him, ‘just in case anyone is ever in doubt: we don’t like or condone bigotry in any form.’
Substacks Does Not Condone Bigotry
Chris Best, the CEO of Substack has not really provided an answer to Nilay Patel’s Decoder questions in regards to whether racist speech would be allowed on Notes, its new Twitter-like platform. But on the previous Friday which is over a week after Chris Bests’ interview on the Decoder podcast, Hamish McKenzie, co-founder of Substacks shared a stronger statement on a Substack Note.
“Last week, we caught some heat after Chris didn’t accept the terms of a question from a podcast interviewer about how Substack will handle bigoted speech on Notes,” McKenzie stated. “It came across poorly and some people sternly criticized us for our naivety while others wondered how we’d discourage bad behaviors and content on Notes. We wish that interview had gone better and that Chris had more clearly represented our position at that moment, and we regret causing any alarm for people who care about Substack and how the platform is evolving. We messed that up. And just in case anyone is ever in any doubt: we don’t like or condone bigotry in any form.”
McKenzie Still Doesn’t Specify Just How That Bigotry Will Be Moderated On Notes
But McKenzie still, however, doesn’t exactly specify just how that bigotry will be moderated on the platform, Notes, or how the moderation of Notes will compare to the newsletter policies Substack. And instead, just like Best in his Decoder interview, McKenzie questions the “default assumption that aggressive content moderation is the answer to the problems it is supposed to solve.” He continued to argue that despite having vast content moderation teams, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter haven’t really reduced bigotry or even got to solve misinformation concerns.
How Substack Claim to Solve the Problem of Bigotry
The claim of Substack is that it can solve these problems simply by using a different business model that is focused on paying writers instead of “attention that is harvested by algorithms” for advertisements. “We give communities on Substack the tools to establish their own norms and set their own terms of engagement rather than have all that handed down to them by a central authority,” McKenzie stated. (This sounds a lot like the policy of Reddit of allowing users and people on the platform to run their very own moderated subreddits, although Reddit is still very much largely supported by ads.)
Notes Will Allow People to Block and Hide Users and Delete Replies
These tools right about now are still very much in their early stages. Notes will allow people to block and hide users and delete replies, and McKenzie has stated that Substack is experimenting with mediums to limit replies to subscribers. And in the future, “we will design Notes so that users can define the specific terms of engagement in their community once, or only occasionally,” McKenzie revealed.
Substack May Have To Make Changes to the Platform along the Way
McKenzie also acknowledged the fact that Substack might have to make some changes to the platform along the way. “The truth is that we know Notes is a new space, and that it has some crucial differences from the core Substack platform that people have come to know over the last five years,” he writes. “We fully expect to have to adapt our content moderation policies and approach as the platform evolves.”
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