Apple has cut back on its Twitter advertising, according to Twitter CEO Elon Musk. In a tweet, Musk said that Apple has “mostly stopped” its Twitter ads, asking if Apple hates “free speech.”
Musk went on to publish a poll asking if Apple should “publish all censorship actions” taken that impact customers and he began retweeting content from companies that Apple has had moderation discussions with. He also retweeted the 1984 parody video from Epic Games that suggested Apple has an App Store monopoly.
Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America? — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2022
Since Musk took over Twitter, advertisers have been pulling back on Twitter-based ad campaigns because of Musk’s approach to moderation and the re-enabling of previously suspended and banned accounts, such as that of former U.S. President Donald Trump.
Musk eliminated more than half of Twitter employees over the course of the last few weeks, including many who handled policy creation and content moderation. This has caused issues with advertisers, especially after the bungled launch of the $8 Twitter Blue subscription that included account verification. Twitter users quickly learned they could pay $8 to impersonate high-profile accounts and companies, leading to chaos on the platform.
Last week, nonprofit organization Media Matters released a report suggesting Twitter has lost half of its top 100 advertisers. These advertisers spent $2 billion in 2020 and more than $750 million in 2022, so Twitter is facing notable losses in ad revenue. Companies like AT&T, CNN, Dell, Allstate, DirecTV, HP, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Verizon, General Mills, Volkswagen, Wells Fargo, and others are no longer running Twitter ads.
Musk has attempted to persuade advertisers to remain on the platform, going as far as personally calling the CEOs of some brands, according to Financial Times. Musk has been “berating” companies that have pulled out of Twitter ads, leading some to reduce spending to a bare minimum to “avoid further confrontation” with Musk, who has been championing “free speech” and “civil debate” on the platform.
Apple App Store chief Phil Schiller deactivated his Twitter account following Musk’s takeover, a signal that Apple executives are not pleased with the direction that Twitter is heading, which could lead to additional clashes over moderation in the future. Last Friday, Musk commented on Apple’s App Store policies, giving some insight into what might happen if content on Twitter grows problematic. Musk has confirmed that Apple is “making moderation demands.”
Yes — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2022
Should Twitter get to the point where its lack of moderation causes Apple and Google to remove it from their stores, Musk said that he will “make an alternative phone.” He said that it hopes “it does not come to that,” but will do so if there is “no other choice.”
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