Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Tuesday joined a growing chorus of Republicans criticizing Apple after Twitter owner Elon Musk claimed the tech giant threatened to remove Twitter from its App Store, strengthening the GOP’s ties to Musk and amplifying their shared criticism of major tech companies.
Removing Twitter from the App Store would be a “huge, huge mistake and a really raw exercise of monopolistic power,” DeSantis said Tuesday while speaking at an unrelated event in Duval County, adding that he believes the move would call for a congressional response.
Apple has not publicly responded to Musk, who tweeted about the alleged threat Monday afternoon, or confirmed that it threatened to remove Twitter’s app.
DeSantis speculated Apple’s alleged threat was based on Musk’s reinstatement of Twitter accounts that were “unfairly and illegally suspended for putting out accurate information about Covid,” he said, though Musk has said it’s unclear why Apple issued the warning.
Ohio Senator-elect J.D. Vance (R) also criticized Apple in similar terms, tweeting Monday that the move “would be the most raw exercise of monopoly power in a century,” hours after Musk initially made the allegation about Apple in a tweet.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who serve on the House and Senate Judiciary committees’ antitrust panels, along with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), also called on Congress Monday to take legislative action to limit Apple’s and other tech giants’ control over the app market.
Musk spent part of Monday attacking Apple, claiming in a series of critical tweets the company threatened to pull the social media company from its App Store and cut back on advertising on Twitter. He also vowed to “go to war” with Apple if it continued its policy of charging companies that make over $1 million a 30% fee for in-app purchases. Since taking ownership of Twitter in October, Musk has loosened the company’s content moderation policies and reinstated a number of accounts that were previously banned for violating the platform’s policies against disinformation and hate speech, including former President Donald Trump’s. The moves have aligned Musk with lawmakers on the right who have blamed tech companies for unfairly censoring information that appeals to their voter base. But Apple prohibits companies that use its app platform from distributing “content that is offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, in exceptionally poor taste or just plain creepy,” according to its guidelines. Twitter’s former head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth warned in a New York Times op-ed removal from the app store would be “catastrophic” for Twitter’s business, and said Apple’s enforcement practices are “fraught.”.