Sign In  |  Register  |  About Burlingame  |  Contact Us

Burlingame, CA
September 01, 2020 10:18am
7-Day Forecast | Traffic
  • Search Hotels in Burlingame

  • ROOMS:

Matt Taibbi details spat with Elon Musk, teases future Twitter Files reporting despite viral drama

In his newsletter, Matt Taibbi pulled back the curtain on his now-fraught relationship with Twitter owner Elon Musk over his recent crackdown of Substack content.

Independent journalist and leading Twitter Files reporter Matt Taibbi pulled back the curtain on the public dustup he had with Twitter owner Elon Musk.

Taibbi, one of writers hand-picked by Musk for access to Twitter's archives last year, announced last week that he was dumping the platform after Musk cracked down on content from the popular newsletter subscription service Substack, which Taibbi uses for his own newsletter. Musk ultimately rolled back some of the restrictions targeting Substack following fierce criticism. 

Musk further escalated tensions when he leaked his private conversation with Taibbi on Twitter. The screenshots showed Taibbi questioning Musk if he was being personally targeted on the platform and Musk pressing Taibbi whether he was "employed" by Substack. (Taibbi was formerly a Substack Pro contributor and receives money from individual Substack subscribers but was never an employee.} Musk later deleted the tweet but not before others preserved their heated exchange. 


In his Racket News newsletter on Wednesday, Taibbi recalled the disbelief he had when he first caught wind of Musk's crackdown of Substack and went to Musk directly to seek answers. 

"Whatever was going on between Twitter and Substack had nothing to do with me or with other Substack writers, and if Twitter was going to label our work unsafe and not allow us to share my articles, I couldn’t endorse all this by using the platform, and said so. This prompted a quick ping! and a furious Signal question: ‘So you want Substack to kill Twitter?’" Taibbi wrote about their exchange. "I thought about asking him if he was okay — Substack is like a thousand times smaller than Twitter — but figured that wouldn’t go over well and tried a Socratic approach. What would he would have me do, if I couldn’t share links and market my work? The answer: post articles to Twitter instead, enabling a subscription plan… This idea had come up about a month before and I’d cheerfully declined, telling them I was happy where I was. I didn’t think that had been a serious request… I moved to a more bottom-line observation, namely that if I moved, ‘people would say I’m essentially an employee of Twitter and both of us would never hear the end of it.’"

 "I was genuinely trying to protect Elon from his own ideas," he continued. "He didn’t see it that way and said that was goodbye. Through a fatalistic laugh I asked if this was because I wouldn’t leave Substack, to which he reiterated it was because I’d chosen to ‘support a company that wants to kill Twitter.’"


Taibbi told readers Musk "immolated the last remnants of any reputation he had as a free speech advocate" and that his "public meltdown" will "take a ton of pressure off [the] villains" laid out in the Twitter Files. 

"Even given the recent craziness, I find myself feeling bad for the guy," Taibbi said. 

Taibbi, alarmed by how his Twitter Files threads were temporarily disabled during the fallout, published them on other platforms including Facebook, Substack and TruthSocial to preserve his past reporting. 


While Musk claimed in a Twitter Spaces conversation this week that the Twitter Files reporting is "done" and that "there’s not much left really… we need to move on," Taibbi teased "we still have a lot of material, and more reports are coming."

"Holding up my end of the deal, these will appear on Twitter first. They just won’t be on my account, since I wouldn’t wipe my ass with Twitter after the events of last week," Taibbi wrote. 

Regarding his own status on Twitter, Taibbi borrowed a quote from the 1999 film "Office Space" and insisted, "I’m not quitting Twitter. I’m just not going to go anymore."

"It’s not personal. I just can’t drive traffic for any site that’s censored me," Taibbi wrote. "These companies depend on our content to make money… Frankly if all accounts walked away in these situations, the platforms would have to cut this nonsense out pretty quickly."

"I mean this sincerely: I’ve got nothing against Elon Musk. Thanks to him and the #TwitterFiles, ordinary people know a lot more than they ever could have hoped to about how information is managed in this country. I’ll personally always feel grateful for what he did. But he’s high as Snoop in a weather balloon if he thinks banning commercial rivals is going to solve Twitter’s problems. The whole thing’s really a shame," he added.

Twitter's official press email address now responds to inquiries with an autoreply of the poop emoji, which was sent to Fox News Digital when asked to comment on this story.

Data & News supplied by
Stock quotes supplied by Barchart
Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes.
By accessing this page, you agree to the following
Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.
Copyright © 2010-2020 & California Media Partners, LLC. All rights reserved.