In this corner, in the blue trunks, it’s ELON MUSK. In the other corner, in the rainbow colored trunks, it’s APPLE. Who will win?
Elon Musk claims that Apple has threatened to “withhold” Twitter from the iOS App Store for unknown reasons. The news follows a tweet where Musk said Apple had “mostly stopped advertising” on the platform and a poll asking whether Apple should “publish all censorship actions it has taken that affect its customers.” Apple did not immediately comment on Musk’s claim.
The news follows much more subtle signs of mounting tension between Apple and Musk-owned Twitter. Musk has criticized Apple’s App Store fee for in-app purchases, dubbing it a “hidden 30% tax” on the internet. And Apple App Store boss Phil Schiller deleted his Twitter account following Musk’s takeover, shortly after Donald Trump’s account was reinstated.
In a November 15th interview with CBS News, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that “they say that they are going to continue to moderate. I’m counting on them to continue to do that.” Musk, however, has pledged to loosen Twitter’s moderation guidelines and floated the idea of a mass unbanning of suspended accounts.
Twitter has long tested the boundaries of Apple’s App Store moderation — which has successfully pushed Discord, Tumblr, and other services to either hide potentially offensive content (typically adult content) or ban it altogether. Twitter remains one of the only large platforms to still allow adult content on its app, and a recent editorial by former Twitter executive Yoel Roth revealed that it’s sparred periodically with Apple over content like racial slurs and the hashtag #boobs.
Apple has every right to refuse to advertise on Twitter. This is a pathetic whine from a guy who doesn’t understand free speech.
I’m not keen on a big tech company using its clout to tell smaller companies what they’re allowed to do — but while I deplore choking off adult content, I approve of pressuring social media to block racial slurs. There’s a great big gray area right there.
But…Apple is a trillion dollar company, flush with cash, and at the height of their power. Twitter is a company that’s losing money hand over fist, and was recently bought out by an idiot who is busy gutting the place. I don’t have to prefer one over the other, because if Musk decides to go up against one of the biggest tech giants in the world with his flailing, fading company, I know what the outcome will be.
He’s also such an ass that I’ll enjoy watching the steam roller crush him.