If Apple decides to remove Twitter from the App Store, Elon Musk has a plan ‘B’. The billionaire is going to make his own phone.
Musk said in a tweet on Friday that he would “make an alternative phone” to compete with Apple’s iPhone if the tech giant ends up blocking Twitter from its popular App Store.
Since taking over Twitter at the end of October, Musk has made a lot of changes to the platform. He has fired and laid off a lot of people, which has caused executives in charge of data privacy and content moderation to quit. Before he offered to buy Twitter for $44 billion, Musk said that Twitter was hurting democracy by not following “free speech principles.” He also called himself a “free speech absolutist” not long before that.
Musk’s main goal when it comes to content moderation is to let people say what they want as long as they don’t break the law. Also, he is said to want to try and earn money for Twitter with adult content or pornography, like the site Ony Fans. When people like Jack Dorsey were in charge, content moderation was more deliberate and aimed to keep users “safe” by banning pornography, hate speech, and violent content. Musk moved quickly to bring back some users who had been banned for posting such things, like former president Donald Trump.
Apple has a long list of rules that apps must follow if they want to be and stay available on iPhones and other Apple devices. The most important idea in the rules is “safety.”
The first rule of the guidelines says, “When people install an app from the App Store, they want to feel confident that it’s safe to do so and that the app doesn’t contain upsetting or offensive content.”
Phil Schiller, who has worked for Apple for many years and runs its App Store, deleted his Twitter account last week. This could be a bad sign for Twitter. Musk complained about Apple’s fees on Twitter, calling them “a hidden 30% tax on the internet.” This made Schiller decide to do something.
Musk didn’t say on Friday that the changes he made to Twitter couldn’t get it expelled out of the App Store, but he did say, “I hope it doesn’t come to that.”