Elon Musk takes aim at Apple over Twitter advertising and asks Tim Cook 'what's going on?'

World's richest person accuses tech company of suppressing free speech and cutting advertising on his social media platform

Elon Musk has overseen a tumultuous few weeks at Twitter since becoming owner. Reuters
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Twitter owner Elon Musk has unleashed a barrage of tweets aimed at Apple, accusing the technology company of threatening to remove the social media platform from its App Store and suppressing free speech.

Mr Musk, who has been very vocal on Twitter since his controversial acquisition of the company for $44 billion at the end of last month, went as far as saying the situation has become “a battle for the future of civilisation”, and said Apple had cut its Twitter advertising.

“If free speech is lost even in America, tyranny is all that lies ahead,” he tweeted.

Twitter has lost at least half of its major advertisers in the weeks after Mr Musk became its chief executive, representing a loss of nearly $750 million, a report by non-profit watchdog Media Matters found.

The exodus has included General Mills and Pfizer, and Mr Musk previously acknowledged that the defections led to a “massive drop” in revenue, and that the company was losing $4 million per day.

Apple was consistently one of the top advertisers on the social network, spending well above $100 million annually, Bloomberg reported.

This month, longtime Apple executive Phil Schiller, who oversees the App Store, deleted his Twitter account.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has remained on the platform, and Mr Musk asked him: “What's going on?”

This came after Mr Musk asked whether Apple hates free speech in America and said the company had “mostly stopped advertising on Twitter”.

Mr Musk also suggested that Apple has made demands on Twitter’s content moderation. He posted a yes-no survey: “Apple should publish all censorship actions it has taken that affect its customers.”

He also claimed that Apple “puts a secret 30 per cent tax on everything you buy through their App Store”.

Mr Musk tweeted at the weekend that if Twitter is removed from the Apple and Google app stores, he will make an alternative phone that can work with the platform.

There have been widespread reports before of Mr Musk working on a Tesla smartphone.

Twitter has endured a tumultuous period since Mr Musk took over.

Thousands of jobs were cut, and the new Twitter Blue subscription service was rolled back after a chaotic wave of fake accounts with the new blue ticks parodied US presidents, well-known dead people and large companies.

It is set to soon be re-introduced with gold checks for companies, grey for government, and blue for individuals.


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Updated: November 29, 2022, 8:16 AM