Elon Musk has announced big, albeit confusing, plans for Twitter since he took over the social network last month.
Musk wants to vastly increase the revenue the company makes through subscriptions while opening up the site to more “free speech,” which in some cases seems to mean restoring previously banned accounts like the one owned by former president Donald Trump.
But Musk’s plans for Twitter could put it in conflict with two of the biggest tech companies: Apple and Google.
app rules in a way that slows down the company or even gets its software booted from app stores.
Tensions are already brewing. Musk complained in a tweet just last week about app store fees that Google and Apple charge companies like Twitter.
“App store fees are obviously too high due to the iOS/Android duopoly,” Musk tweeted. “It is a hidden 30% tax on the Internet.” In a follow-up post, he tagged the Department of Justice’s antitrust division, which is reportedly investigating app store rules.
His complaint is over the 15% to 30% cut Apple and Google take from purchases made inside apps, which could eat into the desperately-needed revenue from Musk’s plans for $8 per month from Twitter Blue subscriptions.
Over the weekend, Phil Schiller, the former head Apple marketing executive who still oversees the App Store, apparently deleted his widely-followed Twitter account with hundreds of thousands of followers.
There are signs Twitter has already seen an increase in harmful content since Musk has taken over, putting the company’s apps at risk. In October, shortly after Musk became “chief Twit,” a wave of online trolls and bigots flooded the site with hate speech and racist epithets.
The trolls organized on 4chan, then barreled into Twitter with anti-Black and Jewish epithets. Twitter suspended many of the accounts, according to the nonprofit Network Contagion Research Institute.
Musk’s plan to offer paid blue verification badges have also led to chaos and accounts impersonating major corporations and figures, which have caused some advertisers to shy away from the social network, in particular, Eli Lilly after a fake verified tweet erroneously said insulin would be provided for free.
The app stores noticed.
“And as I departed the company, the calls from the app review teams had already begun,” former Twitter head of trust and safety Yoel Roth wrote this month in the New York Times.