Elon Musk Lashes Out At Apple In Tweetstorm Over Threat Of Twitter App Store Ban: 'Do They Hate Free Speech?'

Zinger Key Points
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk lashed out at Apple on Monday.
  • Musk accused Apple of suppressing free speech if it bans Twitter from its App Store.
Elon Musk Lashes Out At Apple In Tweetstorm Over Threat Of Twitter App Store Ban: 'Do They Hate Free Speech?'

Twitter's new owner Elon Musk lashed out at Apple, Inc AAPL on the social media platform in a series of 11 and counting tweets on Monday, accusing the iPhone maker of censoring its users and opposing free speech.

What Happened? Apple is reportedly one of many companies that have halted or reduced advertising spend on Twitter after Musk acquired the popular social media platform for $44 billion earlier this month. A recent report by Media Matters suggested half of Twitter's top advertisers have abandoned the platform since Musk took over.

On Monday, Musk confirmed Apple is among the companies that are no longer advertising on Twitter.

"Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?" Musk tweeted.

"Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why," he said.

 

The latest tweets come after Musk said he would build his own smartphone if Apple and Alphabet, Inc. GOOG GOOG choose to ban the Twitter app from their app stores in response to Musk's recent decision to reinstate previously banned Twitter users, such as former President Donald Trump and Kanye West.

"I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone," Musk said on Friday.

Apple shares were trading down 2.77% at $144 Monday afternoon. 

On Monday, Musk acknowledged one Twitter user who said Apple previously demanded apps filter some search terms or risk being banned from the Apple app store.

"Who Else has Apple censored?" Musk asked in reply to the tweet.

Musk even tagged Apple CEO Tim Cook in one tweet, asking Cook directly "what's going on here."

Another Twitter user suggested Musk, who is the world's wealthiest person, not pick a fight with Apple because of the large number of Tesla Inc TSLA users that access their vehicles via Apple's iOS operating system.

"Are you suggesting Apple would use its duopolist powers to hurt Tesla?" Musk replied.

He then teased the potential of publicly releasing new information about the ongoing feud. "The Twitter Files on free speech suppression soon to be published on Twitter itself. The public deserves to know what really happened," Musk tweeted on Monday afternoon.

In October, Musk said Tesla "can far exceed Apple's current market cap" and said he sees "a path for Tesla to be worth far more than Apple and Saudi Aramco combined," suggesting a $4.4-trillion market cap for Tesla.

So far in 2022, Tesla's stock price is down 53.5%, dropping the company's market cap down to $581 billion. Apple shares are down 20.4% year-to-date, dropping its market cap to around $2.3 trillion.

Apple did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Benzinga's Take: Tesla's stock was trading higher by 1.1% on Monday, but it started pulling back from its highs when Musk began his tweetstorm against Apple.

Musk has already been forced to sell more than $19 billion of Tesla stock since April to help finance his Twitter acquisition, so an Apple ban of Twitter could create significant risk Musk will be forced to dump more Tesla stock at some point down the line.

Illustration via Duncan Hall on Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay. 

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