Elon Musk Says Apple Can Remove Twitter From Their Play Store; Ads Already Reduced By 50%

Ad sales account for about 90% of Twitter’s revenue.

Elon Musk has complained that Apple is threatening to block Twitter from its app store without giving a reason.

Background

In a series of tweets on Monday he also said Apple had stopped advertising on the social media platform.

He alleged that Apple was pressuring Twitter over content moderation demands.

Although unconfirmed by Apple, the action would not be unusual since it has a history of enforcing its rules and has previously removed apps such as Gab and Parler.

Why Parler?

This app is one of the most popular spaces for U.S. conservatives.

It was restored by Apple in 2021 after the app updated its content and moderation practices.

Whining to Apple CEO

Musk once again took to his personal online diary to tweet, “Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?”

Then as billionaire CEOs do, he tagged Apple’s chief Tim Cook’s Twitter account, asking “what’s going on here?”

Is the issue that serious?

A professor at the University of Chicago Law School Randal Picker said, “It wasn’t clear to me how far up the Apple food chain that idea went internally and without knowing that, it isn’t clear how seriously to take any of this.” 

Advertising slowdown

Apple, which is the world’s most valuable firm, spent about $131,600 on Twitter ads between Nov. 10 and Nov. 16.

This is a huge fall from $220,800 spent between Oct. 16 and Oct. 22, the week before Musk closed the Twitter deal.

In the first quarter of this year it was the top advertiser on Twitter, spending $48 million and accounting for more than 4% of total revenue for the period.

“Go to war”

In typical Musk fashion he posted a meme suggesting he was willing to “go to war” with Apple.

Why?

Because apparently Apple is charging a 30% commission fee to software developers for in-app purchases.

This commission could hamper Musk’s attempts to boost subscription revenue, partly to make up for the exodus of advertisers over content moderation concerns.

Run or be left behind

Some of the most renowned companies from General Mills to luxury automaker Audi of America have either stopped or paused advertising on Twitter since the acquisition.

Ad sales account for about 90% of Twitter’s revenue.

Why are advertisers spooked?

In the past few days the self-described free speech absolutist has reinstated several Twitter controversial and divisive accounts including that of former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump played an important part in the leadup to the Jan 6 Capitol riots where a mob of conservatives of Trump worshippers stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election results that Biden won.

Musk blamed activist groups for pressuring advertisers.

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