Credit: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Substack, a popular newsletter platform, has recently added a “report” button to its app, allowing users to flag posts and publications directly.

This feature has been accessible on the platform’s web version for the last four months, enabling users to report profiles and “Notes”, a feature similar to Twitter/X posts introduced by Substack. The latest app update was brought to attention by Chris Messina and first reported by The Verge.

A screenshot of Substack on Apple's App Store.
Credit: Screenshot / Apple Store.

Substack has been embroiled in controversy as numerous users have departed the platform due to concerns over content moderation issues. The platform faced criticism for allegedly allowing white supremacist, alt-right, and “explicitly Nazi newsletters” to thrive on its platform, as revealed in a November 2023 investigation by The Atlantic. In response, hundreds of Substack publishers penned an open letter to the company’s leadership.

The ongoing content moderation issues impacting Substack

The letter questioned Substack’s decision to promote and monetize sites associated with white nationalism, seeking clarification from the Substack team. The “Substackers Against Nazis” campaign referenced Mashable’s reporting on a prior exodus of Substack writers, highlighting concerns about bigotry, particularly transphobia, on the platform. The letter criticized Substack’s approach to content moderation, emphasizing the need for a balanced stance rather than favoring certain content. Prominent Substack writers such as Rusty Foster and Helena Fitzgerald have already announced their departure, following earlier exits like Grace Lavery and Jude Ellison S. Doyle, all due to similar apprehensions.

In 2022, Mashable reported on the prevalence of COVID misinformation on Substack, prompting the platform to clarify its stance, emphasizing the importance of free press and expression while adhering to certain content guidelines.

Despite the addition of the report feature and ongoing discussions with the community, Substack seems to be maintaining its policies amid these controversies.

Responding to concerns about Nazi content on Substack in 2023, co-founder Hamish McKenzie stated on Dec. 21, “We do not condone extremist views, including those aligned with white nationalism. However, censoring or demonetizing publications is not a sustainable solution, as it may exacerbate the problem rather than alleviate it.”

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Meera Navlakha
Culture Reporter

Meera is a Culture Reporter at Mashable, who joined the UK team in 2021. Her coverage spans digital culture, mental health, big tech, entertainment, and more. Her work has been featured in publications like The New York Times, Vice, and Vogue India.


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