‘Do they hate free speech in America?’ Elon Musk says Apple threatened to remove Twitter from app store
Elon Musk said that Apple has cut back its advertising on Twitter and even threatened to withhold the social network from its app store, suggesting that a fight is brewing between the two companies.
“Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter,” Musk tweeted on Monday. “Do they hate free speech in America?” He later tagged Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook’s Twitter account in another tweet, asking “what’s going on here?”
A few minutes later, he claimed that Apple might boot Twitter from its app store “but won’t tell us why.”
A number of large companies have paused their ads on Twitter since the billionaire acquired the company for $US44 billion ($66 billion) last month. The exodus included General Mills and Pfizer, and the billionaire acknowledged that the defections led to a “massive drop” in revenue.
Since the takeover, he has cut thousands of jobs at Twitter, raising concerns that the platform won’t be able to combat hate speech and misinformation. A new approach to verifying accounts also opened the door to trolls impersonating major brands, as well as Musk himself.
Twitter’s relationship with Apple is particularly significant because the tech giant’s app store is one of the main ways that people get on the social network. Phil Schiller, the longtime Apple executive who oversees the app store, deleted his Twitter account after Musk reinstated the account of former President Donald Trump, who had been booted from the platform in the wake of the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.
Cook also has continued to use Twitter personally since Musk’s acquisition. He posted a Thanksgiving message last week “wishing everyone a joyful day.” Despite Musk’s tweet, Twitter users said Monday that they continue to see Apple advertising in their feeds.
Apple, based in California, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. “It wasn’t clear to me how far up the Apple food chain that idea went internally and without knowing that, it isn’t clear how seriously to take any of this,” said Randal Picker, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School.
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