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‘We don’t like Nazis either,’ Substack says, opts not to ban them

"Is platforming Nazis part of your vision of success?" wrote more than 200 Substack writers. "Let us know—from there we can each decide if this is still where we want to be."

The newsletter platform Substack. Credit: T. Schneider/Shutterstock.
The newsletter platform Substack. Credit: T. Schneider/Shutterstock.

More than 200 writers on a newsletter platform, going by “Substackers Against Nazis,” penned a letter to the platform’s leadership about neo-Nazis with large followings.

“We’re asking a very simple question that has somehow been made complicated: Why are you platforming and monetizing Nazis?” they wrote. “We, your publishers, want to hear from you on the official Substack newsletter. Is platforming Nazis part of your vision of success? Let us know—from there we can each decide if this is still where we want to be.”

Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie responded on Dec. 21.

“I just want to make it clear that we don’t like Nazis either—we wish no-one held those views,” he wrote. “But some people do hold those and other extreme views. Given that, we don’t think that censorship (including through demonetizing publications) makes the problem go away—in fact, it makes it worse.”

“Our content guidelines do have narrowly defined proscriptions, including a clause that prohibits incitements to violence,” he added. “We will continue to actively enforce those rules while offering tools that let readers curate their own experiences and opt in to their preferred communities. Beyond that, we will stick to our decentralized approach to content moderation, which gives power to readers and writers.”

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