Elon Musk has said he will build an 'alternative smartphone' if Google and Apple ban the Twitter app on their phones. Musk said he said the liberal opposition to his takeover of Twitter "does not come to that" but if it does, he said he will go all the way to build a phone.
Musk was responding to a comment made by conservative commentator Liz Wheeler, speculating if Apple and Google would block the Twitter app on their platforms. "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?" Wheller tweeted.
"I certainly hope it does not come to that ... but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone," Musk wrote in reply.
The speculation over a putative ban of Twitter on iOs and Android phones intensified after Phil Schiller, who heads up operations at Apple's App Store deleted his Twitter account ostensibly over the free-speech reforms Musk has been rolling out on the platform after he acquired the microblogging company.
Musk rankled the nerves of the liberals with a series of moves after his Twitter acquisition. Musk had sacked liberal-leaning CEO Parag Agrawal and policy chief Vijaya Gadde immediately after taking over.
The tech tycoon then said he believed the permanent banning of the account of former President Donald Trump was a wrong move. Musk lived up to his promise to withdraw the ban on Trump last week by conducting a Twitter poll on whether to revoke the ban. Though Twitter revoked the Trump ban eventually the former President has not said if he will actually come back on the platform.
After this, Musk said he would consider a general amnesty for all users hose accounts were removed, underscoring his long-held view that it is not appropriate to enforce permanent bans.
Free Speech Slogan
While the conservative half of the American populace approved of Musk's reforms at twitter, the others were left miffed as Musk took on the liberal footsoldiers, neo-left activists and Democratic cheerleaders.
The tech billionaire had said in unambiguous terms that the ban on Trump ran counter to the principles of free speech. He had said he would defend free speech and align with Trump's return to the platform though he disagreed with the former president on many aspects of policy.
Right from the moment Musk completed the acquisition, it was clear that the change of leadership at Twitter would be hugely consequential and controversial. Twitter's senior ranks collapsed in a meltdown after Musk inked the deal, the most pathetic display of which was the emotional outburst of its top lawyer Vijaya Gadde who cried afoul of the changes and went as far as to tell her colleagues that the future of Twitter was uncertain under Musk.
CEO Agrawal and legal counsel Vijaya Gadde were instrumental in tilting Twitter policy much too close to the liberal political agenda. Musk had long complained about the muffling of voices on the right on the Twitter platform, saying that by doing so Twitter was not fulfilling its duty as a virtual town square. He had lambasted against the censoring at Twitter, which was allegedly used as a tool to scupper conservative voices while protecting the rights of users on the liberal extremes.
Musk's Free Speech Absolutism
Musk was openly and extremely critical of this policy of Twitter, which it called content moderation'. Musk was clear that he wanted to review this arbitrary policy and bring in a more maximalist approach that would favor free speech.
The blocking of former US President Donald Trump from Twitter was a case in point that Musk had articulated. Vijaya Gadde was instrumental in formulating a policy that saw the blocking of Trump on the platform. After proposing to take over Twitter in April, Musk had said that he would bring Trump back to the platform.
After Twitter officially revoked the ban on Trump, Musk said Twitter's trust quotient eroded when it banned a sitting US president. On the other side, the Left fears that hate speech will return to Twitter if Musk allows all banned accounts back on the platform.
Some policy analysts believe that Apple and Google might face increasing calls to remove the app from their phones. According to Fox News, Yoel Roth, former head of trust and safety at Twitter, said the risk was serious.
"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," Roth said.