Apple has allegedly threatened to remove Twitter from the App Store, according to Elon Musk
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO claims that Apple has threatened to “withhold” Twitter from the iOS App Store for reasons that are unclear. The announcement comes after a survey asked if Apple should “publish all censorship actions it has taken that affect its customers.” and a tweet from Musk claiming Apple has “mostly stopped advertising” on the site. To now, Apple has remained silent in response to Musk’s claim.
More subtle indications of escalating animosity between Apple and Musk’s Twitter led up to this announcement. Musk has called Apple’s 30% cut of in-app sales made through the App Store a “hidden 30% tax” on the internet. And Apple’s head of the App Store, Phil Schiller, deactivated his account after Musk took over, right about the time that Trump’s account was restored.
Apple CEO Tim Cook remarked, “they say that they are going to continue to moderate,” in an interview with CBS News on November 15. They’ve been doing a great job, and I need them to keep it up. Musk, on the other hand, has promised to relax Twitter’s moderation criteria and has even suggested unbanning suspended accounts en masse.
Twitter has been pushing the limits of Apple’s App Store moderation for quite some time, which has led to other sites like Discord and Tumblr hiding potentially offending content (usually pornographic content) or completely banning it. A recent editorial by former Twitter executive Yoel Roth disclosed that the company has sparred regularly with Apple about content like racial insults and the hashtag #boobs, despite being one of the only major platforms to still allow such content on its app.
According to Musk, “withhold” may imply temporarily denying an upgrade to the Twitter app or could involve a more serious threat to remove Twitter from the iOS App Store, both of which would be disastrous for Twitter.