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Elon Musk claims Apple has ‘threatened to withhold’ Twitter from its app store


Elon Musk on Monday claimed that Apple has “threatened” to tug Twitter from its iOS app retailer, a transfer that may very well be devastating to the corporate Musk simply acquired for US$44 billion.

“Apple has additionally threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Retailer, however will not inform us why,” Musk mentioned in one in every of a number of tweets Monday taking purpose at Apple and its CEO for alleged strikes that would undermine Twitter’s enterprise.

In one other tweet, Musk claimed that Apple has principally stopped promoting on Twitter. “Do they hate free speech in America,” he mentioned, in an obvious reference to his oft-stated want to bolster his concept of free speech on the platform. “What is going on on right here [Apple CEO Tim Cook]?” Musk added in a follow-up tweet. He additionally criticized Apple’s measurement, claimed it engages in “censorship,” and called out the 30% transaction payment Apple expenses giant app builders to be listed in its app retailer.

The tweetstorm highlights the tenuous relationship between Musk and Apple, which together with Google serves as the foremost gatekeepers for cell functions. Lengthy earlier than taking on Twitter, the Tesla CEO mentioned that when the automobile firm was struggling, he thought-about promoting the corporate to Apple, however that Cook dinner refused to take a gathering with him.

Removing from Apple’s app retailer, or that of Google, can be detrimental to Twitter’s enterprise, which is already battling a lack of advertisers following Musk’s takeover and a rocky preliminary try at increasing its subscription enterprise.

Apple didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Musk’s tweets. The corporate has beforehand proven it is keen to take away apps from its app retailer over considerations about their skill to reasonable dangerous content material or in the event that they try to avoid the lower Apple takes from in-app purchases and subscriptions.

In January 2021, Apple eliminated Parler, an app widespread with conservatives, together with some members of the far proper, from its app retailer following the U.S. Capitol assault over considerations in regards to the platform’s skill to detect and reasonable hate speech and incitement. Parler was returned to Apple’s app retailer three months later after updating its content material moderation practices.

In its official app retailer assessment tips, Apple lists numerous security parameters that apps should adhere to so as to be included within the retailer, together with a capability to forestall “content material that’s offensive, insensitive, upsetting, meant to disgust, in exceptionally poor style, or simply plain creepy” akin to hate speech, pornography and terrorism. “When you’re seeking to shock and offend folks, the App Retailer is not the precise place on your app,” the rules state.

Varied civil society teams, researchers and different business watchers have raised considerations about Twitter’s skill to successfully reasonable dangerous content material and preserve the platform’s security following widespread layoffs and mass worker exits on the firm. Musk has additionally claimed he desires to amplify “free speech” on the platform and has begun to revive some accounts that have been beforehand banned or suspended for repeatedly violating Twitter’s guidelines. Musk himself has shared a conspiracy idea and several other different controversial tweets since taking on as Twitter’s proprietor.

Musk, lengthy a prolific and antagonistic tweeter, has not let up in any respect since taking on the corporate. And what it could have misplaced in income, he has claimed it has made up for in engagement. A part of the technique seems to be relentlessly taking purpose at enemies, both of him personally or of “free speech.”

In an interview with CBS earlier this month, Cook dinner was requested whether or not there are any methods during which Twitter might change that may trigger Apple to take away it from the app retailer. “They are saying that they are going to proceed to reasonable and so … I depend on them to do this,” Cook dinner responded. “As a result of I do not suppose that anyone actually desires hate speech on their platform. So I am relying on them to proceed to do this.”

In an op-ed printed within the New York Occasions final week, Twitter’s former head of belief and security, Yoel Roth, who left the corporate earlier this month, prompt that Twitter had already begun to obtain calls from app retailer operators following Musk’s takeover. Roth mentioned the corporate’s failure to stick to Google and Apple’s app retailer guidelines may very well be “catastrophic.”

And final weekend, the pinnacle of Apple’s app retailer, Phil Schiller, deleted his Twitter account.

Whereas the state of Apple and Twitter’s relationship is unclear, the iPhone maker was operating Black Friday adverts on the platform as not too long ago as final Thursday, based on posts considered by CNN.

Many firms have pulled again on digital advert spending in latest months because the economic system declined, and Twitter has doubtless all the time solely been a small portion of Apple’s advert finances. Apple’s influence on Twitter, nonetheless, may very well be rather more vital, together with if Musk succeeds in shifting its core enterprise to being extra reliant on subscription income, and doubtlessly has to pay a 30% lower to Apple.

In a single tweet Monday, Musk requested his almost 120 million followers in the event that they know “Apple places a secret 30% tax on every part you purchase via their App Retailer?” In one other tweet, he posted an image of a freeway exit: one lane headed towards “pay 30%,” the opposite pointed towards “go to conflict.” An outdated automobile labelled “Elon” skidded towards the latter.


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