The Center for Countering Digital Hate made some legacy media headlines on January 26th when it reported Substack generates at most $2.5 million per year by allowing Joseph Mercola and Alex Berenson to publish and distribute anti-vaccine newsletters. Mercola and Berenson, who “monetize” their “dangerous lyings”, take home 90%, while Substack gets 10% for its use of the platform.
Substack is now being called upon by the CCDH to ban Berenson, Mercola, and other similar characters from its self-service newsletter platform.
Imran Ahmed, CEO of CCDH, challenged Substack’s misinformation business model. He said, “Substack must immediately cease profiting from misinformation about medical treatment that could seriously harm readers.”
Ahmed outlined his views separately with Guardian. He stated that Substack has “No obligation” not to amplify vaccine skepticism and that it is not about freedom. It is about making money from lies.
Substack responded in this blog post: Substack responded by publishing the following blog post on their website: “Society is facing a trust problem.” .”
Substack cofounders Hamish McKenzie and Chris Best reaffirmed their belief that they will not be censored despite mounting pressure.
Substack’s founders are proving to be a refreshing sight in a world where technology platforms and media outlets buckle under the pressure of the intolerant establishment.
However, this might not suffice.
Substack’s philosophy and dedication to it could be bulletproof. However, the walls might still fall at a moment’s notice if Substack’s underlying technology is not equally resilient to the machinations and censorship hawks of the left.
Late last year Federalist reported Substack’s data was hosted by Amazon Web Services. A quick scan with BuiltWith (a technology lookup tool) confirms that Substack does indeed rely on Amazon’s Cloud Platform as a Service, along with Cloudflare.
How long will it be before the mob realizes that Substack is not willing to be bullied? What environmental factors could actually convince Amazon to intervene and require Substack not to allow COVID-19 or vaccine “misinformation?”
We will never know the answers to these questions, but we hope so.
In truth, however, there may be another variant of the same thing that we are just a few steps away from discovering.