Musk accuses Apple of threatening to pull Twitter from App Store

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


Twitter owner Elon Musk on Monday accused Apple of threatening to yank the social media company from its App Store without explanation, though he posited a theory.

“Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?” Musk asked. “What’s going on here @ [Apple CEO Tim Cook]?”

The tweet was followed by several others in which Musk called Apple out over allegations that the tech giant habitually engaged in below-the-belt tactics to control speech and stymie competition.

In one, Musk retweeted a statement from blockchain-based file sharing and payment network company LBRY, which stated:

During Covid, Apple demanded our apps filter some search terms from being returned. If we did not filter the terms, our apps would not be allowed in the store. Apple may make good products, but they have been opposed to free speech for some time.

“Who else has Apple censored?” Musk asked.

The billionaire and Tesla CEO also retweeted a parody video created by Epic Games, the gaming studio behind Fortnite, of George Orwell’s famous “1984” novel, slamming Apple’s Big Brother tactics to maintain its “App Store Monopoly.”

“Epic Games has defied the App Store Monopoly. In retaliation, Apple is blocking Fortnite from a billion devices. Join the fight to stop 2020 from becoming ‘1984,’” the video text read. 

“Accurate,” Musk wrote.

Epic Games launched its #FreeFortnite campaign in 2020 after Apple removed it from the App Store for adding a direct payment system to the game in violation of App Store policies.

Musk then posted a poll asking Twitter users to weigh in on whether “Apple should publish all censorship actions it has taken that affect its customers. At the time of this reporting, there were 84.8% “yes” votes and 15.2% “no” votes.

“Did you know that Apple puts a secret 30 percent tax on everything you buy through their App Store?” Musk asked in another tweet.

Democratic lawmakers, liberal activist groups, and the media have launched a massive pressure campaign in an effort to force Musk to keep user content moderation in place in the wake of the billionaire’s Twitter takeover and vow to restore free speech to the platform. FISM previously reported that several major advertisers have already cut ties with Twitter after receiving cease-and-desist letters from dark money groups linked to Hillary Clinton and BLM.

This latest salvo in the ongoing social media censorship battle began earlier this week when Washington Post activist-journalist Taylor Lorenz used her column to demand that Apple and Google pull Twitter from their app stores, asserting that restoring free speech on the platform will harm the LGBTQ community and other “marginalized communities.”

Musk drew Lorenz’s particular ire, according to her column, for reinstating The Babylon Bee’s account after the conservative satire site had been banned for referring to President Biden’s Assistant HHS secretary Rachel Levine, a biological male who identifies as female, as “man of the year.”

Lorenz also gnashed her teeth over the restoration of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) account. Greene was deplatformed for posting statistics published in the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine adverse effect reporting system which was flagged as “misinformation.”

App Store chief exec Phil Schiller reportedly deactivated his Twitter account earlier this month, according to the MacRumors website.

Variety reported that Apple spent an estimated $39 million on Twitter ads so far in 2022, citing ad-spending tracker MediaRadar. The figure, if correct, represents about 84% of Apple’s social media spending, according to the report. 

Musk has previously tweeted that he would create a new phone if there “is no other choice.”

This article was partially informed by a Post Millennial report.