Elon Musk is preparing for an almost inevitable showdown with Apple (AAPL) – Get a Free Report and Alphabet (GOOGLE) – Get a Free ReportGoogle’s parent company.
Billionaire CEO of Tesla (TSLA) – Get a Free ReportThe platform, which completed its $44 billion acquisition of Twitter on October 27, quickly transformed its image.
He wants it to be innovative and provocative, molding where everything is said and decided. To achieve this, the self-described “free speech absolutist” Techno King has opted for a soft content moderation policy. Basically, Musk puts very few limits on what’s not acceptable on Twitter.
He reactivated former President Donald Trump’s account on January 6, 2021, after a 22-month ban following the events on Capitol Hill.
The billionaire also activated accounts banned for anti-trans comments and hate speech. This was the case with the conservative-leaning satirical site Babylon Bee and conservative Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson.
Babylon Bee, a conservative Christian news site, suspended Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, a transgender woman, for misgendering last March. The post that led to the ban was: “Babylon Bee’s Person of the Year is Rachel Levin.”
Differences About Hate Speech
As for right-wing commentator Peterson, he posted about transgender actor Elliot Page. On Twitter, “Remember pride is a sin? And Ellen Page had her chest removed by a forensic pathologist.”
Twitter also reinstated the account of Protect Texas Kids, a group that opposes drag shows and LGBTQ events in Texas.
The problem is that this strategy clashes with the philosophy of Apple and Alphabet. Both companies, like app distributors Apple through the Apple Store and Google through Google Play, have strict policies regarding hate speech.
“When people install an app from the App Store, they want to be sure it’s safe — the app doesn’t contain disturbing or offensive content, won’t harm their device, or cause physical harm from using it,” the iPhone maker says in its Apple Store guidelines. “If you want to shock and awe people, the App Store is not the right place for your app.”
“When evaluating whether apps should be included in Google Play, we consider a number of factors, including, but not limited to, a pattern of malicious behavior or a high risk of abuse,” Google said. “We determine the risk of abuse, including but not limited to app and developer complaints, news, prior infringement history, user feedback, use of popular brands, characters and other assets.”
Given these guidelines from the iPhone maker and the internet giant, it’s reasonable to think we’re headed for a head-to-head clash between them and Musk’s Twitter. This is what one of his fans pointed out to him.
“There is no other choice”
In response, Musk admitted that there was a risk that Apple and Google could decide not to distribute Twitter further because it violated its rules. He then made a preemptive threat against the two Silicon Valley giants and said he would produce a smartphone to replicate Twitter.
“@elonmusk should make his own smartphone if Apple and Google take Twitter off their app stores,” tweeted a Twitter user. “Half the country would gladly give up the biased, eye-catching iPhone and Android. Man builds rockets to Mars, stupid little smartphone should be easy, right?”
“Of course I hope it doesn’t come to that, but yes, I’ll make an alternative phone if there’s no other option,” the tech mogul said.
It did not reveal further details, including which of its many companies will make the phone.
Musk’s arrival in the smartphone industry would be a lightning bolt. While it’s hard to imagine how he’ll challenge the existing players, and Apple in particular, Musk will have a head start with his image and reputation as an innovator built through Tesla.
It also has countless millions of fans worldwide and is very present in China, where Apple manufactures its phones and where Tesla also has a huge factory. So it’s not certain the Cupertino, Calif.-based group will welcome competition in a country where Musk already has an established footprint.
The rivalry between Apple and Tesla may take a new turn. For many years, analysts and experts expected Apple to compete with Tesla by developing an electric car.