- Metacurity Says Farewell to Substack
Metacurity Says Farewell to Substack
Metacurity has moved to a new platform.
RudolfSimon, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
You will notice that this Metacurity email is coming from a new address. Metacurity has moved off Substack, and I explain why below.
All our free and premium subscribers have moved with us in a (hopefully) seamless fashion, but if there are any glitches, please email me at Cynthia [at] metacurity.com. Premium subscribers should not be double-billed because of the move, but if there are any problems, please let me know.
(Due to Beehiiv’s delay in allowing emails to arrive from custom domains for the first time, today’s issue is arriving from a Beehiiv email address. Future emails should be arriving from [email protected]. To ensure future deliverability, please whitelist metacurity.com in your email system.)
Free subscribers stay with this post until the end for a special offer!
I started Metacurity on Substack on September 7, 2020, transforming my publication from an unwieldy WordPress website into a convenient daily newsletter.
Substack is a great publishing platform. It has enabled many writers to become their own bosses and fostered a revolution in independent publishing.
Substack has performed well over the past three-and-a-half years. Although the customization is limited, the built-in standard newsletter template and Substack network have worked well for Metacurity. Substack's support staff answers questions promptly. Unlike many other Substackers, I don't even mind the 10% plus service charges cut Substack takes,
I never planned to leave until the Nazi problem emerged.
The nazis are going to show up
Substack's platforming of Nazi and other hardcore right-wing publishers is by now well-known. It all began on November 28 with this piece by Jonathan Katz in The Atlantic and snowballed from there. Nearly 250 writers demanded an explanation from Substack's owners. Many think pieces probed the degree to which Substack is a neutral platform or plays an editorial role over the publications it platforms.
Substack's star performer, Casey Newton of Platformer, began having doubts after Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie issued a wholly unsatisfying response to the crisis, saying that Substack doesn't like Nazis either but, adding, without much elaboration, that censoring would make the problem worse [italics added]. This argument makes zero sense.
At this year's Shmoocon, I caught up with Joan Donovan, Assistant Professor of Journalism and Emerging Media Studies in the College of Communications at Boston University and the founder of The Critical Internet Studies Institute. I asked her what she thought about the controversy. "The problem with publishers in the long run on the net is that you can't have this same attitude of everything for everyone and also run a good product because the Nazis are going to show up until you make them leave," she said.
"And that's just how it's been on the web for so long. You can't just open up a platform and hope that the Nazis don't find it. Discord, Twitch, all of them have gone through this moment of saying, okay, here I stand as a platform, and this is what we're going to tolerate, and this is not what we're going to tolerate."
After Substack performatively deleted some tiny and financially inconsequential Nazi newsletters, Newton ultimately left Substack when he and his colleagues discovered that the Nazi problem on Substack was more extensive than they thought.
And then there's the perception problem. "If it's known as the Nazi platform, then Casey Newton's not going to get the number of readers and others that he's looking to support his work and his newsletter," Donovan told me.
For those of you who make "free speech" arguments that bolster Substack's platforming of Nazis, my long career in the communications sector taught me a lot about free speech. Substack is free to continue platforming odious right-wing views that align with Nazism, and I'm free to leave Substack. Freedom all the way around.
Moving to Metacurity.com
All this brings me to my decision to move Metacurity to Beehiiv as a publishing platform under Metacurity's domain. Beehiiv co-founder Tyler Denk has unequivocally said that Nazis are banned from the platform, and I'll hold him to that pledge. (Note that Jonathan Katz, the journalist who got this ball rolling, is now also on Beehiiv, along with many other publishers, including one of my favorites, Today in Tabs.)
My subscribers have also told me they object to supporting Metacurity as long as it's on Substack. "Hi Cynthia. I am a longtime subscriber of your newsletter and an appreciative reader of your informed content," one reader message said. "I'm contacting you to let you know that while I highly value the work you do and the content you create, I refuse to support businesses that support nazis. As long as Metacurity remains on Substack, I will no longer subscribe, consume or promote your content."
The loss of premium subscriptions hurts even more. "Not going to support any publications on Substack until this policy changes," one premium subscriber said when canceling their subscription, pointing to this Verge piece.
One downside is that Substack has been a substantial driver of Metacurity's subscriptions. Aside from Google, the Substack app and network of newsletters are the primary drivers of Metacurity's growth. Many publications with a far wider reach than Metacurity are sticking with Substack because they don't want to lose their revenue streams.
Metacurity has a devoted fan base in the cybersecurity world (thank you!), but it is tiny in the grand scheme of things. We can't afford to stall our growth by losing the Substack network or Google search engines (at least temporarily). Yet, here we are.
One-time-only, time-limited special offer to our free subscribers
Now that we are starting over on a new platform with a new URL, it's more important than ever that you please consider supporting our continued existence by becoming a subscriber.
Free subscribers get our daily newsletter containing the latest and most crucial infosec news of the day, culled from thousands of sources, expertly summarized, and delivered directly to your inbox. Premium subscribers get the newsletter, access to our archives, and exclusive reports, which we will produce more frequently in 2024.
As an incentive for our free subscribers, we are extending a time-limited special offer: Get a one-time, 20% discount off our standard premium subscriber rate. Don't sleep on it, though – this offer expires on February 29. Do it today!
For less than the cost of one Starbucks Betty White Frappuccino per month, we'll make sense of the infosec overload you face and so much more. Plus, you'll be satisfied knowing you've helped keep Metacurity viable as an ongoing cybersecurity news destination.
If you have experienced any problems during our migration, don't hesitate to contact Cynthia [at] Metacurity.com.
Stay safe and sane out there.