Elon Musk asks Tim Cook ‘What’s going on here’? after Apple pulls its Twitter ads—setting up a clash of tech titans
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Elon Musk has some issues with Apple and its CEO Tim Cook — and as the new owner of Twitter, Musk is tweeting all about it.
On Monday, Musk said Apple had "mostly stopped" advertising on Twitter. He asked, "Do you hate free speech in America?" Then he added, "What's going on @tim_cook?"
If what Musk said is true and Apple stopped advertising on Twitter, it would be a major blow to the platform's revenue. And it would be another major advertiser to leave the service following Musk's recent acquisition -- following others like Volkswagen, Pfizer, and Chipotle.
Earlier this month, Musk acknowledged the issue, tweeting that "Twitter had a massive drop in revenue" and accusing activist groups of allegedly pressuring advertisers.
"There has been no change in content moderation and we have done everything we can to appease activists," Musk wrote. He added: "Extremely messed up! They are trying to destroy freedom of speech in America.”
In the first quarter of this year, Apple was the top advertiser on Twitter, spending $48 million on ads, according to The Washington Post, which cited a document compiled from internal Twitter data. That accounted for more than 4% of Twitter's total revenue for the quarter.
Musk also claimed that Apple "threatened to withhold Twitter's app from Apple's App Store," "but he won't explain why." He did not provide any further information about a ban.
Apple did not immediately respond to Fortune's request for comment.
However, Apple's App Store boss Phil Schiller deactivated his personal Twitter account this month.
On Monday, Musk also asked his nearly 120 million followers about Apple's "secret" tax.
"Did you know that Apple levies a secret 30% tax on anything you buy through its App Store?" he wrote, referring to Apple's slashing of subscriptions and other purchases made through iOS apps.
It's not the first time Musk has slammed Apple for the 30% cut. Earlier this year, before buying Twitter, he tweeted, "Apple's Store is like a 30 percent tax on the internet. Definitely not okay," and that it's "literally 10 times higher than it should be."
Still, Musk seems to be enjoying the fight, posting a meme with two roads: one paying 30% and one going to war (as he put it), with a car speeding towards the war and him "Elon" calls ."
Earlier, another tech mogul complained about Apple's 30 percent commission - Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Last year he said the 30% Apple takes makes it "harder" for creators to monetize their work.
In a previous blog post, Fidji Simo, then head of the Facebook app, wrote: "We hope Apple will consider permanently changing its requirements for apps to use its payment processing platform and reducing the associated 30% tax." Such a high tax places a disproportionate and unnecessary financial burden on small businesses, especially those who rely on other platforms like Facebook to engage with their audience because they lack the resources to develop their own app .”
Zuckerberg and Cook have had their differences in the past. Last year, Apple released a privacy feature that asked users to explicitly opt out of letting apps like Facebook or Instagram track them through other apps. It was a major blow to Facebook's online ads business, which depended in part on data to gauge the interests of its users.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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