Musk has now turned to attacking brands that stop advertising on Twitter

  • Elon Musk has discovered that Apple charges up to 30 percent on in-app purchases.
  • The new owner of Twitter has also alleged that Apple has slowed advertising on the platform.
  • It is also alleged that Apple may boot Twitter from the App Store.

We’ve been racking our brains trying to remember a chief executive officer of a successful technology firm berating advertisers. Generally speaking, attacking those who help pay your bills is a bad idea and highlighting that one of the biggest brands in the world has abandoned your platform is even worse.

On Monday evening, Elon Musk seemingly discovered some well-known facts about Apple.

The first is that Apple takes up to 30 percent from all purchases made through its App Store. This is a point of contention that Epic Games and others have taken issue with over the years but Apple won’t be swayed, even in a courtroom.

To fact-check Twitter’s new owner, Apple’s “tax” is not a secret nor is it a tax. This fee is well documented and known to any developer trying to sell something via Apple’s digital storefront.

We suspect that while working hardcore, Musk discovered that a portion of the Twitter Blue fee would go to Apple if iPhone users paid via the App Store. This likely cuts into Twitter’s already dwindling margins.

Not content with taking offence to this, Musk then berated Apple for no longer advertising on Twitter.

We’re not sure how choosing where to advertise is an affront to free speech. In fact, we would argue that being able to choose where to advertise is free speech in practice. Putting that performance aside, revealing that Apple “has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter” is a worrying statement for any brand.

Apple infamously doesn’t use Twitter. The brand’s Twitter account is a ghost town serving only to inform users of Apple events when they roll around. For the brand to now pull advertising means it’s essentially no longer on the platform and we can see why it may have made that decision.

For one, fake verified accounts sowed havoc on Twitter a few weeks back when users impersonated brands and other public figures. This incident caused incredible damage to pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Co when a fake account tweeted that “insulin is free now”.

While this sparked a conversation about the price gouging on insulin in the US, it’s an incident that understandably got the guard of brands up.

Musk’s latest questionable move has seen amnesty granted to previously banned accounts and this has likely worried brands even more. It’s worth noting that while some accounts may have been banned unfairly, those banned accounts also include misinformation swindlers, harassers and worse.

These aren’t folks brands want their messages to appear alongside and we suspect that many brands will pull back on advertising on the platform.

This brings us to the next big allegation Musk made in the last 24 hours: Apple wants to kick Twitter from the App Store.

The billionaire claims that Apple won’t tell Twitter why it may pull the app from the storefront but one really doesn’t have to look hard to find reasons. The most glaring is Twitter’s child sexual abuse material problem. This content, which is widespread on Twitter, has already cost it advertisers, and it could cost the social media platform a space on the App Store.

Child sexual abuse content was the catalyst that saw Tumblr kicked from the App Store. The move was so big for Tumblr that it famously banned adult content outright to get back onto the storefront.

Just last year Apple, Google and even AWS kicked Parler from their respective platforms for not policing their halls well enough and allowing harassment and incitement of violence to flourish on the platform.

The idea of Twitter being kicked from the App Store when its problems are similar to those of Tumblr isn’t that much of a leap. Beyond that, berating Tim Cook on Twitter likely doesn’t help Musk’s cause and Apple has no legal responsibility to keep apps on its storefront.

Apple has yet to comment on Musk’s barrage of tweets and accusations and we very much doubt it will. We do think that Twitter’s new owner might want to get off of the platform and focus on its growing list of issues before advertisers, brands and ordinary users simply up and leave.


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