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

The billionaire CEO of Twitter and Tesla claimed Apple was putting pressure on Twitter regarding requirements for content control

In a series of tweets on Monday, Elon Musk claimed that Apple Inc. had threatened to ban Twitter Inc. from its app store without providing any explanation. He also claimed that the iPhone manufacturer had ceased running advertisements on the social networking site.

The wealthy CEO of Twitter and Tesla claimed Apple was putting pressure on Twitter regarding requirements for content control.


Apple has not confirmed the action, but it would not be out of the ordinary given that it regularly enforces its policies and has already deleted apps like Parler and Gab.

Apple reinstated Parler in 2021 after the app changed its content and moderation procedures, the businesses claimed at the time. Parler is a favourite among American conservatives.

“Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?,” Musk, who took Twitter private for $44 billion last month, said in a tweet.

In a subsequent tweet, he included Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Twitter handle and posed the question, “What’s going on here?

Requests for comment from Apple did not immediately receive a response.

“It wasn’t clear to me how far up the Apple food chain that idea went internally and without knowing that, it isn’t clear how seriously to take any of this,” said Randal Picker, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School.

According to ad measurement company Pathmatics, the most valuable company in the world spent less on Twitter advertisements between Nov. 10 and Nov. 16 than it did in the week before Musk closed the Twitter deal, when it spent $220,800 between Oct. 16 and Oct. 22.


The up to 30% commission Apple charges software developers for in-app purchases was one of the complaints Musk listed on Twitter. Musk posted a meme implying he was prepared to “go to war” with Apple rather than pay the commission.

Companies like Epic Games, the developer of “Fortnite,” have criticised and sued the fee, and it has garnered the attention of regulators throughout the world.

Musk’s efforts to increase Twitter’s subscription fees, in part to offset advertisers’ flight due to concerns over content moderation, may be hindered by the commission.

Since the acquisition, businesses ranging from General Mills Inc. to luxury automaker Audi of America have discontinued or suspended their Twitter advertising, and Musk said earlier this month that the company had experienced a “huge” decline in revenue.

The self-described “absolutist” of free expression, whose business has restored multiple Twitter accounts, including that of former US President Donald Trump, has accused activist groups of exerting pressure on advertising.

Ben Bajarin, the director of consumer technology at the research firm Creative Strategies, suggested that Musk might be interpreting Apple’s app review procedure too broadly.

“App review from Apple is not perfect by any means and a consistently frustrating process for developers but from what I hear it is a two-way conversation,” he said.