Effective date: August 7, 2023
Substack is a place for independent writing. We host and celebrate a diverse range of thought and discussion. The following guidelines outline what is and is not acceptable on Substack. We have the exclusive right to interpret and enforce these guidelines, although we may consult outside experts, research, and industry best practices in doing so. If you encounter content that may be in breach of these guidelines or have any questions about them, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we determine that any content is in breach of these guidelines, we may remove it, hide it from public view, or impose other restrictions. This is an evolving document: we reserve the right to update these Content Guidelines at our discretion and without notice.
Please respect people’s intellectual property and don’t infringe on their privacy or any other legal rights. Don’t publish anything that violates laws or regulations. You and you alone are responsible for the content you publish on Substack, and liable for any harm caused by the content you publish.
We want Substack to be a safe place for discussion and expression. At the same time, we believe that critique and discussion of controversial issues are part of robust discourse, so we work to find a reasonable balance between these two priorities. In all cases, Substack does not allow credible threats of physical harm.
Substack cannot be used to publish content or fund initiatives that incite violence based on protected classes. Offending behavior includes credible threats of physical harm to people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability or medical condition.
You may not publish or post other people's private information (such as a personal phone number or home address) without their express authorization and permission. We also prohibit threatening to expose private information or incentivizing others to do so. The publication of publicly accessible information is not a violation of this policy.
Do not publish any material that was written or created by someone else and claim it as your own.
We don’t allow impersonation, which includes posing as another person, brand, or organization. This applies to Substack itself: don’t use Substack’s name, logo, or trademark in any way that misrepresents the company or misleads others.
People restricted from making money on Substack
Substack’s payments are processed through Stripe, which excludes certain types of businesses from using their service. Please refer to the Stripe Service Agreement (see the US agreement here) and Stripe’s restricted businesses for more information about restricted business categories and practices.
Harmful and illegal activities
We don’t allow content that promotes harmful or illegal activities, including material that advocates, threatens, or shows you causing harm to yourself, other people, or animals.
Spam and phishing
We are vehemently anti-spam and anti-phishing. If you are importing a mailing list from another platform, you are required to ensure it’s made up of people who explicitly opted-in to receive emails from your specific publication. We don’t allow imports of email addresses that were purchased, scraped, or harvested from third party websites. Don’t add people to your mailing list without their consent, and don’t import your contacts list or social graphs. Similarly, you may not create publications for spamming or phishing purposes. Don’t post spam when interacting with others on Substack, such as in comments, discussion threads, or email replies.
Marketing and Promotion
Substack is intended for high quality editorial content, not conventional email marketing. We don’t permit publications whose primary purpose is to advertise external products or services, drive traffic to third party sites, distribute offers and promotions, enhance search engine optimization, or similar activities. Brands and commercial organizations publishing on Substack may be subject to additional verification.
Nudity, porn, erotica
We don’t allow porn or sexually exploitative content on Substack, including any visual depictions of sexual acts for the sole purpose of sexual gratification. We do allow depictions of nudity for artistic, journalistic, or related purposes, as well as erotic literature, however, we have a strict no nudity policy for profile images. We may hide or remove explicit content from Substack’s discovery features, including search and on Substack.com.
Comments, Notes & Community Surfaces
These guidelines also apply to Substack comments, notes, and other community surfaces. We believe that writers are responsible for moderating their own communities as they see fit and readers for curating their own experiences on the platform. Don’t create accounts for the sole purpose of circumventing boundaries like blocks and bans imposed by other users. We may intervene to remove accounts engaged in artificial or inauthentic activity on community surfaces.