On Monday, Twitter owner Elon Musk revealed that Apple has "threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why."
Earlier this week, an activist Washington Post journalist demanded that Apple and Google pull Twitter from their app stores, claiming that the LGBTQ community and other "marginalized communities" stand to suffer the most harm from his free speech plans for the platform.
Musk issued a number of posts on Monday calling out the tech giant, questioning why "they hate free speech in America."
"Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?" Musk asked, questioning in a follow-up tweet, "What’s going on here [Tim Cook]?"
The Monday afternoon was the first of a multitude put out by the Tesla and SpaceX CEO regarding Apple and censorship.
Following that tweet, Musk retweeted the blockchain-based file sharing and payment network LBRY, who wrote, "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 wrote.
"Is this really a fight we want to pick. An awful lot of your Tesla customers use iOS to access their cars. If that app gets pulled, it’ll significantly impact your ability to sell to Apple customers. Cards are way less convenient than BT entry," one Twitter user replied.
"Are you suggesting Apple would use its duopolist powers to hurt Tesla?" Musk questioned.
Musk also retweeted a video created by Epic Games, the game studio behind Fortnight, which parodied George Orwell’s novel 1984, calling out Apple.
"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 read. The campaign, #FreeFortnite, was launched in 2020 after Epic Games released a direct payment system in their game, violating Apple’s terms of services. The app was subsequently removed from the App Store.
"Accurate," Musk wrote.
Musk then posted a poll to Twitter, stating, "Apple should publish all censorship actions it has taken that affect its customers.
Musk noted that Apple "puts a secret 30 percent tax on everything you buy through their App Store," and subsequently tweeted a meme stating that he would "go to war" instead of paying this developer tax.
Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz has been among many calling for Twitter to be removed from App stores, writing in a recent column that Musk restoring previously banned accounts would harm "marginalized communities."
Musk has previously stated on Twitter that he would make a phone if there "is no other choice."
If Apple and Google were to remove Twitter from their app stores, Musk responded to a post asking him to make a phone, saying, "I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone."
The row with Apple comes as the tech giant restricted the usage of AirDrop capabilities on devices in China, a feature that had helped anti-government protestors organize. Instead of allowing open communication between local Apple devices, Chinese users now have a 10-minute limit on accepting AirDrops from everyone.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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