Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, has declared a new “war” against the iPhone maker
Elon Musk, the founder of Twitter, has lashed out at Apple over its tight control over what is allowed on the App Store, claiming that the iPhone maker has threatened to oust his recently acquired social media platform. Musk has also joined the chorus of those complaining about Apple’s 30 percent fee.
Transactions are made through its App Store, which is the only way for applications to reach its billion-plus mobile devices. Musk’s tweets included a meme of a car with his first name on it veering onto a highway off-ramp labeled “Go to War” instead of continuing to “Pay 30%.” The billionaire CEO also stated that Apple has “threatened to remove Twitter from its App Store, but has refused to explain why.” Apple did not respond immediately to an AFP request for comment. Both Apple and Google require social networking services to have effective systems for moderating harmful or abusive content in their app stores.
However, since taking over Twitter last month, Musk has laid off roughly half of the company’s workforce, including many employees tasked with combating disinformation, and an unknown number of others have voluntarily resigned. He has also restored previously suspended accounts, including former President Donald Trump’s. In a New York Times op-ed, Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety who left after Musk took over, wrote that “failure to adhere to Apple’s and Google’s guidelines would be catastrophic” and risk “expulsion from their app stores.” Musk, who describes himself as a “free speech absolutist,” believes that all content permitted by law should be allowed on Twitter and described his actions on Monday as a “revolution against online censorship in America.” He also tweeted that he intended to publish “Twitter Files on free speech suppression,” but did not specify what data he intended to share with the public.
Though Musk claims that with him at the helm, Twitter is seeing record-high engagement, his approach has surprised the company’s main revenue generator: advertisers. According to an analysis conducted by the nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters, half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers have announced they are suspending or have otherwise “seemingly stopped advertising on Twitter” in recent weeks. Musk claimed on Monday that Apple has “mostly stopped advertising on Twitter.” “Do they hate free speech in America?” he wondered, before responding with a tweet that included Apple CEO Tim Cook’s name.
According to a Washington Post report citing an internal Twitter document, Apple was the top advertiser on Twitter in the first three months of 2022, spending $48 million on ads that accounted for more than 4% of the social media platform’s revenue. “Musk didn’t understand that Twitter itself was a brand, had cachet,” said Sarah Roberts, an information studies expert at the University of California, Los Angeles, to AFP. “Companies no longer want to be associated with it. They aren’t even concerned with the content. Twitter is a tainted brand, one that businesses do not want to be associated with “she continued.
Musk also called Apple’s App Store transaction fee a “secret 30% tax” on recently. He shared a video from Fortnite creator Epic Games last year that portrayed Apple as an oppressor in a parody of the famous “1984” ad for Macintosh computers. Apple has battled Epic in court, accusing the iPhone maker of operating a monopoly in its store for digital goods or services. Last year, a federal judge ordered Apple to relinquish control of its App Store payment options, but Epic failed to prove antitrust violations had occurred. According to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, Musk’s controversial moves at Twitter, as well as the possibility that he will need to sell more Tesla shares to keep the social media platform afloat, have taken the luster off the electric car company and its stock. “The new Musk vs. Apple battle is not what investors want to see,” Ives tweeted. “(Wall) Street wants less drama, not more, as the Tesla bears’ Twitter situation continues to be a gift that keeps on giving with each new chapter.”