Substack’s platform now has direct messages

An illustration of Substack’s logo.
Illustration by The Verge

Substack writers and readers can now send private one-on-one direct messages to others on the platform, the company announced today. The highly requested feature works similarly to DMs found on social networking apps like X and Instagram, though it is optional and can be disabled.

Just as you can from X or Facebook, users can initiate direct messages from a writer’s or reader’s profile page. You can also start a message via the website’s or app’s Chat tab. In addition, writers have the option to add a “Send a message” button on a post or note. Substack will then notify recipients via the app or email.

Only readers and writers you’re connected to can send messages directly to your inbox. Other messages will just land in a “Requests” folder, where you can choose to accept or reject the message. Creators can choose to limit DM requests to paid or founding members as well.

It’s just one of the many features Substack has added in recent years that have turned the newsletter platform into something of a social network. Last year, Substack arguably entered into direct competition with X after launching its tweet-like Notes feature for publishing short posts, complete with its own dedicated feed that resembles X’s.

Following in X’s footsteps, Substack also appears to be adopting similar content moderation policies, catching fire last month for allowing Nazi-supporting white supremacist newsletters on the platform. Substack eventually took down five Nazi newsletters but has refused to change its policy.