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26th Nov 2022

Elon Musk says he will make new phone if Twitter is booted off App store

Steve Hopkins

Musk’s remark comes after a longtime Apple exec quit Twitter

Elon Musk has a simple fix if Apple decided to kick Twitter out of the App store – he will create his own smartphone.

The billionaire said 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 App Store.

As well as a stack of celebrities, Phil Schiller, a longtime Apple marketing executive who leads its App Store, last week deleted his Twitter account.

That came after Musk complained on Twitter about the computer giant’s fees, saying they’re effectively “a hidden 30 per cent tax on the internet.”

Since becoming the ‘Chief Twit’ at the end of October, Musk has fired a string of top execs, dissolved the board, has fired over half its workforce, sparked a wave of resignations and made a host of changes to data privacy and content moderation.

Before he offered to buy Twitter for $44 billion, Musk criticised the platform for undermining democracy by failing to uphold “free speech principles” and not long before called himself a “free speech absolutist.”

Since taking over he had quickly moved to reinstate a number of users banned for such content, like former president Donald Trump. Kanye West has also returned to the platform.

Musk’s stance on content moderation is essentially to allow speech that does not break any laws.

Under Jack Dorsey, content moderation at Twitter was focused on “safety” for users and pornography, hate speech and violence was banned.

Musk has announced plans for $8 a month fee for blue tick verification, and will usher in gold and grey ticks as well. He is also reportedly going to try and make money for Twitter off  adult content, similar to OnlyFans.

Apple has considerable guidelines for apps, which they need to follow in order to become and remain available for use on Apple devices. The leading one being, “safety”.

“When people install an app from the App Store, they want to feel confident that it’s safe to do so — that the app doesn’t contain upsetting or offensive content,” the first rule of the guidelines reads.

On Friday, Musk did not deny that his changes may lead to Twitter being removed from the App store, but stated: “I certainly hope it does not come to that.”

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