Twitter’s new boss Elon Musk on Friday said he would consider an ‘alternative phone’ should the microblogging site platform get removed from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. Does this mean we could see a Tesla phone soon?
It all started when conservative podcaster and former OANN host Elizabeth Wheeler tweeted on Friday night,
“If Apple & Google boot Twitter from their app stores, @elonmusk should produce his own smartphone. Half the country would happily ditch the biased, snooping iPhone & Android. The man builds rockets to Mars, a silly little smartphone should be easy, right?”
To which Musk replied, “I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone.”
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I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 25, 2022
Wheeler followed up with a Twitter poll asking, “would you switch to a tELONphone? Vote yes or no with your best pun for a name below.”
Would you switch to a tELONphone? Vote yes or no with your best pun for a name below.
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) November 25, 2022
With over 100,000 votes and still more than 10 hours to go for the voting to close at the time of writing, 53 percent of respondents voted in favor of the smartphone manufactured by Musk.
Musk’s comments come after Phil Schiller, an Apple fellow, and the company’s App Store chief, deleted his Twitter account last weekend.
Yoel Roth, former head of trust and safety at Twitter, said in a New York Times op-ed, warned violations of guidelines risked expulsion of the microblogging site from Apple and Google’s app stores.
“There is one more source of power on the web — one that most people don’t think much about but may be the most significant check on unrestrained speech on the mainstream internet: the app stores operated by Google and Apple,” he said.
“Failure to adhere to Apple’s and Google’s guidelines would be catastrophic, risking Twitter’s expulsion from their app stores and making it more difficult for billions of potential users to get Twitter’s services. This gives Apple and Google enormous power to shape the decisions Twitter makes.”
Right before Roth left Twitter, he said, “The calls from the app review teams had already begun.”
Last week, Musk took a dig at Apple and Google, criticizing the “iOS/Android duopoly”. He also vexed Apple and Google for charging exorbitant app store fees for App Store and Play Store respectively, which according to him, hinders the growth of companies like Twitter.
He publicly criticized both the tech giants for charging a “hidden 30% tax on the Internet” and tagged the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division, which is reportedly investigating the app store rules.
Apple and Google take a 15% commission for in-app purchases, a charge, that Musk would unlikely to pay from the revenues it earns from Twitter Blue’s $7.99 per month subscription plan.
Another reason why the two tech giants can show the door to Twitter is over content moderation, as both do not allow hate or discriminatory speech, bullying, harassment, and sexually explicit content.
Recently, Twitter’s new management removed restrictions on its “freedom of speech” policy so as to boost revenues through paid subscription plans.
Last week, Twitter reinstated previously-banned accounts such as those of former U.S. President Donald Trump, comedian Kathy Griffin, Canadian media personality Jordan Peterson, satirical news publication The Babylon Bee, Andrew Tate, and Kanye West in a bid to boost “free speech”, possibly violating policies of Google’s Play and Apple’s App Store.