Elon Musk: Apple threatens to remove Twitter from the App Store

Nov 28 (Reuters) – Elon Musk accused Apple Inc (AAPL.O) of threatening to block Twitter Inc from its app store without saying why in a series of tweets on Monday that also said the iPhone maker had stopped to advertise on social media platform. .

The billionaire CEO of Twitter and Tesla says Apple is lobbying Twitter for content moderation requests.

The action, unconfirmed by Apple, would not be unusual as the company has consistently enforced its rules and previously removed apps such as Gab and Parler.

Parler, which is popular with American conservatives, was restored by Apple in 2021 after the app updated its content and moderation practices, the companies said at the time.

“Apple almost stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?” Musk, who stripped Twitter of $44 billion last month, said in a tweet. .

He later tagged Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Twitter account in another tweet, asking “what’s going on here?”

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“I didn’t know how far this idea was going up internally in Apple’s food chain and unknowingly I don’t know how seriously you have to take this whole thing,” said Randal Picker, a professor at the Chicago Law University. School.

The world’s most valuable company spent about $131,600 on Twitter ads between Nov. 1 and Nov. 1. 10 and Nov. 16, compared to $220,800 between Oct. 1. Oct. 16 and Oct. 22, the week before Musk made the Twitter deal, according to ad measurement firm Pathmatics.

In the first quarter of 2022, Apple was the top advertiser on Twitter, spending $48 million and accounting for more than 4% of total revenue for the period, The Washington Post reported, citing an internal Twitter document.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters on the report.

‘GO TO WAR’

Among the list of grievances tweeted by Musk was the up to 30% fee Apple charges software developers for in-app purchases, with Musk posting a meme suggesting he was ready to “go to war” with Apple rather than to pay the commission.

The charges have drawn criticism and lawsuits from companies such as Epic Games, the maker of “Fortnite”, while attracting the attention of regulators around the world.

The commission could weigh on Musk’s attempts to boost follower revenue on Twitter, in part to offset an exodus of advertisers due to content moderation issues.

Companies from General Mills Inc (GIS.N) to luxury carmaker Audi of America have stopped or suspended advertising on Twitter since the acquisition, and Musk said earlier this month that the company had seen a decline “massive” of its income.

Ad sales make up about 90% of Twitter’s revenue.

The self-proclaimed free speech absolutist, whose company in recent days restored several Twitter accounts, including that of former US President Donald Trump, blamed activist groups for pressuring advertisers.

Ben Bajarin, head of consumer technology at research firm Creative Strategies, said Musk may be reading too much into a regular process that Apple follows when reviewing apps.

“Apple’s app review is by no means perfect and is an always frustrating process for developers, but from what I’m hearing it’s a two-way conversation,” said he declared.

Reporting by Tiyashi Datta and Akash Sriram in Bengaluru and Sheila Dang in Dallas; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Sriraj Kalluvila

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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