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Elon Musk fired a shot Monday in what could turn into a war with Apple. Twitter’s new owner claimed the tech giant had essentially stopped buying advertising space on the social media site and that the company’s CEO, Tim Cook, hates “freedom of speech”.
Apple has largely stopped advertising on Twitter. Does she hate free speech in America?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2022
Musk also tweeted that Apple “threatened to keep Twitter out of the App Store, but won’t tell us why.” He extended his criticism to the 30% fee Apple charges for app store purchases, using a meme featuring a road sign and an exit. The sign was photoshopped with two choices: “pay 30%” or “go to war”, with the car in the image leaning toward war.
The meme was a flashback to Musk’s earlier criticism of Apple’s app store fees, which he says are “literally 10 times higher” than they need to be.
Citing data from the ad trackers at MediaRadar, the Wall Street Journal reported that “Apple is one of the largest advertisers on Twitter, spending an estimated $39 million to advertise on Twitter during the first 10 months” of 2022. Any loss of the Cupertino-based company’s business could have a significant impact on its Twitter business results.
Other major companies that have pulled ads from Twitter since Musk took over include General Motors (GM), General Mills, and Pfizer. They are all concerned about the brand’s safety, as Musk has declared himself a “free speech absolutist” and has reactivated many controversial accounts that were previously kicked off the site.
Apple has yet to publicly respond to Musk’s comments, but in what could be a telling move, App Store head Phil Schiller left Twitter after Musk said he would reactivate former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.