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Can Apple remove the Twitter app from the App Store? What has Elon Musk said?

The two tech giants have been at odds since the Tesle CEO’s takeover and tensions are beginning to arise over App Store guidelines.

Apple threatens to remove  Twitter from the App Store

Elon Musk has claimed that Apple has threatened to remove Twitter from its iOS App Store, without giving any explanation to the social media site. Thecompany has undergone a chaotic month since Musk’s purchase was concluded at the end of October but removal from the App Store would be a catastrophe as Musk tries to boost profits.

In one of a number of tweets Musk authored on Monday, the Twitter owner wrote: “Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why.”

“Do they hate free speech in America?” he added. He went on to ask Apple CEO Tim Cook: “What’s going on here?”

Musk’s claims come just weeks after Yoel Roth, formerly Twitter’s head of trust and safety, resigned from the company. Roth warned that the site faced the possibility of a “catastrophic” expulsion from both the Apple and Google app stores.

He claimed that Musk’s ideal for the site risked crossing Apple’s App Store guidelines prohibiting apps “for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line”. Previously Apple has removed Parler, the right-wing platform, for failing to stop the spread of dangerous content. Parler was reinstated last year after updating its moderation practices.

Such is the scale of both Twitter and Apple that the two companies are inextricably drawn together, and it is very difficult to imagine a situation where the latter would block access to the former. However the threat of removal from the App Store could be an effective weapon to safeguard moderation practices at Twitter.

Elon Musk at odds with Apple once again

Tensions between Apple and Musk-owned Twitter has reached new heights in recent days but the falling-out between the tech giants has been coming. Earlier this month Phil Schiller, Apple’s App Store chief, deleted his Twitter account. No reason was given for the move publically, but it fuelled speculation that the two entities were drifting apart.

Long before that, Musk reportedly sought a meeting with Apple CEO tim Cook to discuss a potential sale of Tesla. Cook refused to meet with Musk.

More recently Musk has criticised Apple’s pricing structure on the app store. Last week he took aim at the fees charged by Apple for in-app purchases conducting through its app store. In some instances Apple takes up to 30% of the fee and Musk hinted that he is willing to challenge the company on this practice.

Musk has painted himself as a “free speech absolutist” but this laissez-faire approach will put him at odds with Apple, who are hoping for business as usual from Twitter.


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