Big Technology

What Glenn Greenwald Fears From Substack

‘They’re going to have to prepare now about how to resist the onslaught that absolutely will be coming in their direction`

Alex Kantrowitz
Published in
18 min readFeb 3, 2021
Glenn Greenwald

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In January, I wrote a story for OneZero about the content moderation war in store for smaller social platforms like Clubhouse, Spotify, and Substack. As part of my reporting, I reached out to Glenn Greenwald, a strident voice against moderation who left The Intercept for Substack last year. While I’m not in lockstep with Greenwald ideologically, I wanted to hear, and present, his thoughts at length.

This week’s Big Technology Podcast features my full conversation with Greenwald, where we discuss his move to Substack, the line between content moderation and censorship, and Joe Rogan.

Alex Kantrowitz: First of all, how’s the move to Substack going?

Glenn Greenwald: It’s great. I didn’t have much time to investigate how it worked or what it was prior to leaving The Intercept because I decided I was going to leave maybe 24 hours or so prior to actually posting my first article on Substack. I started a series of very frenetic calls, and one of the things I wanted to figure out is what is it that Substack actually provides that you can’t provide on your own? Why can’t you just go and start your own site and charge the same amounts for subscriptions? Then, instead of giving Substack their percentage, keeping it yourself.

Everybody with whom I spoke emphasized that the services that [Substack] provides — not just customer service if things go wrong with the billing or with people signing in — but also just the entire platform itself, how user-friendly it is, how well it works. That alone makes it worthwhile.

Something I didn’t really discuss but I’ve come to appreciate a lot is I think [that]…



Alex Kantrowitz

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