Elon Musk claims Apple ‘threatened to force’ Twitter out of its app store

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CNN Business

Elon Musk claimed on Monday that Apple has “threatened” to remove Twitter from the iOS app store, which could be devastating for the company Musk just bought for $44 billion.

“Apple ( AAPL ) has also threatened to remove Twitter from the App Store, but won’t tell us why,” Musk said in one of several tweets Monday targeting Apple ( AAPL ) and its CEO for actions that could hurt Twitter. he said he got it. Business.

In another tweet, Musk claimed that Apple had largely stopped advertising on Twitter. “Do they hate free speech in America,” he said, clearly referring to his desire to promote the idea of ​​free speech on the platform. “What’s going on here? [Apple CEO Tim Cook]?” Musk added in his next tweet. That too criticized apple size, he claimed engages in “censorship” and it sounded A 30% transaction fee is charged by Apple from major app developers to be listed on the app store.

The tweetstorm underscores the tenuous relationship between Musk and Apple, which along with Google serves as the main gatekeeper for mobile apps. Long before he took over Twitter, the Tesla CEO said he considered selling the company to Apple when the automaker was struggling, but Cook refused to meet with him.

The removal of Apple or Google from the app store, the loss of advertisers after Musk’s takeover, and the initial attempt to expand its subscription business could hurt Twitter’s business, which is already struggling.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Musk’s tweets. The company has previously indicated a willingness to remove apps from the app store due to concerns about its ability to regulate harmful content or when they try to circumvent Apple’s cut of in-app purchases and subscriptions.

In January 2021, Apple removed the Parler app, popular among conservatives, including some members of the far right, from its app store following the attack on the US Capitol due to concerns about the platform’s ability to detect and police hate speech and incitement. Parler has been returned to Apple’s app store three months after revamping its content moderation practices.

In the official app store review guidelines, Apple lists various security parameters that apps must adhere to in order to enter the store, including the ability to block content that is “offensive, insensitive, offensive, disgusting, or in extremely poor taste. , or just plain creepy” like hate speech, pornography and terrorism. “If you want to shock and offend people, the App Store is not the right place for your app,” the guide reads.

Various civil society groups, researchers and other industry watchers have raised concerns about Twitter’s ability to effectively manage harmful content and protect the platform’s security after widespread layoffs and layoffs at the company. Musk also claimed that he wants to strengthen “free speech” on the platform and has started to reinstate some accounts that were previously banned or suspended for repeatedly violating Twitter’s rules. Musk himself has shared a conspiracy theory and several other controversial tweets since becoming the owner of Twitter.

Long a prolific and antagonistic tweeter, Musk never let up after taking over the company. Whatever he may have lost in income, he claimed, he made up for it in engagement. Part of the strategy seems to be to ruthlessly target enemies of “free speech” either personally or otherwise.

In an interview with CBS earlier this month, Cook was asked if there was anything Twitter could change that would cause Apple to remove it from the app store. “They say they’re going to continue to moderate, and so … I believe they will,” Cook responded. “Because I don’t think anyone wants hate speech on their platform. Therefore, I hope that they will continue it.”

In an op-ed in the New York Times last week, Twitter’s former head of trust and security, Yoel Roth, who left the company earlier this month, said Twitter has already started receiving calls from app store operators since Musk’s takeover. Roth said the company’s failure to comply with Google and Apple’s app store rules could be “catastrophic.”

And last weekend, Phil Schiller, head of Apple’s app store, deleted his Twitter account.

While the state of Apple and Twitter’s relationship is unclear, the iPhone maker was running Black Friday ads on the platform last Thursday, according to records seen by CNN.

Due to the downturn in the economy, many companies have scaled back their digital ad spending in recent months, and Twitter has likely always been only a small part of Apple’s advertising budget. However, Apple’s influence on Twitter could be more significant, including if Musk manages to shift its core business to become more reliant on subscription revenue and potentially pay Apple a 30% discount.

In a tweet on Monday, Musk asked his nearly 120 million followers, “Does Apple charge a secret 30% tax on everything you buy through the App Store?” he asked. In another tweet, he posted a picture of a highway exit: one lane pointed to “pay 30%” and the other to “go to war.” An old car labeled Elon slid into last.

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