Tensions Rise between Apple and Elon Musk-Owned Twitter

by Zaveria K December 1, 2022

Apple and Elon Musk-Owned Twitter are at war again. Musk claims threat to his Twitter on App Store

According to Twitter CEO Elon Musk, the iPhone maker has threatened to “withhold” Twitter from the iOS App Store for unclear reasons. The announcement comes on the heels of far more subtle evidence of growing conflict between Apple and Elon Musk-owned Twitter. Apple did not respond quickly to Musk’s assertion.

The announcement followed Musk’s tweet claiming Apple has “largely halted advertising” on the site, and conducted a poll that asked whether Apple should “public any censoring acts it has made that affect its consumers.” Musk called Apple’s App Store price for in-app purchases a “hidden 30% tax” on the internet. As Elon Musk-owned Twitter, Apple App Store head Phil Schiller cancelled his Twitter account, shortly after Donald Trump’s account was reactivated. In an interview with CBS News, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated “they claim that they are going to continue to moderate.” I’m depending on them to keep doing so.”

Musk, on the other hand, has promised to relax Twitter’s moderation criteria and has floated the prospect of mass unbanning of suspended accounts.

Although it is unclear why Apple is supposedly threatening to “remove” Twitter from the App Store, tweets and Musk’s statements suggest that it may be related to the social media platform’s new moderation policy to protect “free expression.” Although Apple has yet to corroborate these accusations, this is not the first time the iPhone manufacturer has threatened to remove the software from its App Store. For example, following the rioting at the US Capitol Building early last year, it pulled Parler, a Twitter rival, from its App Store. After Parler improved its content and moderation methods, the app was returned in May 2021. Lbry makes similar accusations, claiming that Apple instructed the business to “limit some search phrases.” “Apple may manufacture amazing products, but they have long been opposed to free expression,” the business stated.

According to ad monitoring firm Pathmatics, the world’s most valuable company spent an estimated US$131,600 on Twitter advertisements between Nov. 10 and Nov. 16, down from US$220,800 between Oct. 16 and Oct. 22, the week before Musk concluded the Twitter transaction.

The 30% fee Apple charges software developers for in-app purchases was among Musk’s list of concerns, with Musk sharing a meme implying he was eager to “go to war” with Apple rather than pay the commission.

The price has prompted criticism and litigation from firms such as Epic Games, the creators of ‘Fortnite,’ as well as the attention of authorities worldwide.

The commission may consider Musk’s efforts to increase subscription income at Twitter, in part to compensate for the flight of advertisers due to content moderation concerns.

Since the acquisition, companies ranging from General Mills Inc to luxury manufacturer Audi of America have cancelled or suspended advertising on Twitter, and Musk stated earlier this month that the firm has witnessed a “huge” loss in income.

Ad sales generate around 90% of Twitter’s revenue.

The self-described free speech absolutist, whose business has restored multiple Twitter accounts, including that of former US President Donald Trump, in recent days, has accused activist organizations of putting pressure on advertisers.

According to Ben Bajarin, the president of consumer technology at research company Creative Strategies, Musk may be reading too much into a routine procedure Apple uses for app evaluation.

“App review from Apple is not flawless by any means, and it is a continually difficult process for developers,” he added. “However, from what I understand, it is a two-way interaction.”

Twitter has long pushed the limits of Apple’s App Store regulation, which has successfully pushed Discord, Tumblr, and other sites to conceal potentially objectionable content (usually pornographic content) or ban it entirely. Twitter is still one of the only significant platforms that allow pornographic content on its app, and a recent editorial by former Twitter executive Yoel Roth disclosed that it has fought with Apple on issues like as racist insults and the hashtag #boobs.

If Musk is correct, “withhold” could mean temporarily rejecting an update to the Twitter app or a more serious threat to remove Twitter from the iOS App Store — a potentially disastrous outcome for Twitter.

Musk is also upset that Apple and Google charge a 30% fee for in-app purchases. Twitter Blue will be available internationally for US$8. That implies the corporation would take a 30% cut for all subscribers. “Did you know Apple secretly taxes everything you buy through their App Store by 30%?” Musk said.

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