Categories: Technology

Substack Introduces Direct Messaging Feature, Embracing Social Networking Elements

  • Direct Messaging Feature Introduced: Substack introduces direct messaging, akin to social media platforms, enhancing communication between writers and readers.
  • Privacy Controls Implemented: Users can control message accessibility, with non-connected messages filtered into a "Requests" folder. Writers can restrict messages to paid members.
  • Content Moderation Challenges: Substack faces scrutiny over its content moderation policy, particularly regarding white supremacist newsletters on the platform.
Published by
Lethabo Ntsoane

Substack, the popular platform known for its newsletters, has unveiled a new feature that allows users to engage in private one-on-one direct messaging. The announcement, made recently by the company, signals a significant shift towards incorporating social networking elements into the platform, akin to features found on platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

Direct Messaging: Facilitating Communication Between Writers and Readers

The highly anticipated direct messaging feature functions similarly to direct messaging on social networking apps. Users can initiate conversations from a writer’s or reader’s profile page, or through the dedicated Chat tab within the website or app interface. Additionally, writers have the option to include a “Send a message” button on their posts or notes, further streamlining communication between creators and their audience.

InitiationDirect messages can be initiated from a writer’s or reader’s profile page, or via the website’s or app’s Chat tab.
AccessibilityWriters can opt to add a “Send a message” button on their posts or notes, facilitating direct communication with readers.
NotificationSubstack notifies recipients of new messages via the app or email, ensuring timely engagement with direct messages.
Privacy ControlsMessages from users who aren’t directly connected will be filtered into a “Requests” folder, allowing recipients to accept or reject them. Writers can restrict DM requests to paid or founding members.

Ensuring User Control and Safety

To maintain user control and safety, Substack has implemented measures to manage direct messaging effectively. Messages from users who aren’t directly connected will be sorted into a “Requests” folder, giving recipients the option to accept or reject them. Moreover, creators can opt to limit direct messages to paid or founding members, enhancing privacy and exclusivity within the platform.

Navigating Content Moderation Challenges

As Substack evolves into a platform with social networking features, it faces challenges similar to those experienced by established social networks, particularly concerning content moderation. The company recently came under scrutiny for its handling of white supremacist newsletters on the platform. Despite facing criticism, Substack has remained firm on its policy, choosing not to alter its approach to content moderation.


Substack’s introduction of direct messaging represents a significant step towards transforming the platform into a multifaceted social network. By embracing features commonly associated with social networking platforms, Substack aims to enhance user engagement and interaction between writers and readers. However, as the platform navigates these changes, it must also address challenges related to content moderation and community management to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all users.


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Lethabo Ntsoane

Lethabo Ntsoane holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of South Africa. He is a Financial Product commentator at Rateweb. He is an expect financial product analyst with years of experience in reviewing products and offering commentary. Lethabo majors in financial news, reviews and financial tips. He can be contacted: Email: Twitter: @NtsoaneLethabo