Elon Musk vs. Apple: A Costly Misunderstanding

By Daniela Morales, 10th Grade

Elon Musk, most notably known for being the CEO of Tesla, sealed the $44 billion deal this past October, officially making him Twitter’s new owner. Musk said he bought Twitter to “help humanity improve free speech” (Di Stefano, 2022). While this may seem like a positive objective, Twitter’s present and future have been catastrophic after Musk’s purchase. For instance, Musk’s intention to promote freedom of speech has worried many people, including essential investors of Twitter, because this freedom could be used as an excuse to normalize hate speech. 

This possibility has become a fact. A study conducted by Montclair State University found that “in the first 12 hours following Musk’s acquisition, hate speech was tweeted an estimated 4,778 times”. To put this into perspective, before Musk’s purchase, the average of hate tweets per 12 hours was just over 1,000. Another research, published by the Network Contagion Research, found that on October 28, the use of the N-word (a racial slur) increased by an astonishing 500% (Alfonseca, 2022). 

Musk has lost the support of many Twitter clients, and companies that used to pay Twitter for advertisements, like Volkswagen and General Motors, have temporarily paused their partnerships with Twitter. One of the companies that has been worried about Twitter’s agenda is Apple, and last week, Elon Musk decided to publicize its fight with the enterprise. However, this seems more like a unilateral issue as Apple has demonstrated its indifference toward Musk’s anger. 

But why is Elon Musk fighting with Apple? On November 28, Elon Musk began to target Apple through Twitter. Musk claims that since he took over to promote free speech, Apple has decreased the number of ads it buys from Twitter. What this means is that Apple is spending less money on their advertisements being showcased on Twitter. Musk also affirmed that Apple was on the brink of taking Twitter out of the App Store, and tagged the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, in a tweet where he asked: “what’s going on here?”

In his tweets, Musk implied that Apple was a company that did not value free speech, hence their decrease in support for Twitter. Aside from this, Musk complained about the Apple App Store’s fees, which are 30% of the revenue an app makes through digital sales in its first year active on the App Store. 

Tim Cook did not respond to any of the several tweets made by Elon Musk. He also did not confirm if Apple would be banning Twitter from the App Store. In any case, though, Twitter is the one that would be losing the most from a definite fallout in business with Apple. If Twitter loses access to the Apple Store, it loses access to 1.5 billion devices across the world (Westfall, 2022). Will Apple remove Twitter from the App Store? The answer is no. On November 30, Tim Cook and Elon Musk met at the Apple headquarters in California and the conflict was resolved. 

After the meeting, Elon Musk tweeted: “Among other things, we resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store. Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so”. From this, we can gather that Musk acted based on his feelings rather than maintaining the professional posture of Apple. With this Apple incident, the public’s opinion about him since he took over Twitter potentially worsened. To gain back the support from the public and investors, Musk and his team should henceforth focus on two issues: his public image and the hate speech permeating Twitter. 



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