Elon Musk Picks a Fight with Apple Over App Store Policies and Reduction in Twitter Ad Spend
Have Twitter’s insurance policies on freedom of speech truly modified? Is Musk permitting the app to grow to be the ‘free for all hellscape’ that he as soon as instructed advertisers he would keep away from?
Are Elon’s tweets all simply an attention-grab, and not reflective of his precise strategy?
It’s exhausting to inform what’s what as Musk’s Twitter 2.0 evolves, as a result of on one hand, he’ll be telling advertisers that there’s no change to Twitter’s policies, and that they need to really feel secure promoting in the app. Whereas on the opposite, he’s speaking about how Twitter now permits free and open speech, which ‘goes against the media’s narrative’.
However the latter is, not less than in half, a publicity ploy. Musk is aware of that a few of his greatest supporters are backing his push to fight what they understand as media bias, so he performs into that with his varied tweets on the subject, whereas in actuality, Twitter’s insurance policies haven’t truly modified.
Or have they?
Again on November eighth, Musk tweeted out a link to Twitter’s present ‘Twitter Rules’ document, and famous that they might evolve over time. That doc, not less than so far, stays unchanged, however Musk has since (on November nineteenth) tweeted that:
New Twitter coverage is freedom of speech, however not freedom of attain.
Adverse/hate tweets will probably be max deboosted & demonetized, so no advertisements or different income to Twitter.
You gained’t discover the tweet until you particularly search it out, which isn’t any totally different from remainder of Web.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 18, 2022
Now, that’s not technically a change to Twitter’s guidelines, however Musk appears to be making an attempt to play each side, by permitting tweets that will be thought-about ‘hate speech’ to stay in the app, whereas additionally making it a lot tougher for individuals to search out such. On this method, Musk can keep his enchantment to advertisers, by telling them that their content material gained’t be displayed alongside such materials, whereas additionally enabling him to maintain tooting his free speech horn for his followers.
However once more, technically, Twitter’s guidelines haven’t modified – but that hasn’t stopped Musk from repeatedly claiming that he’s ‘fighting for free speech in America’.
After all, Musk has additionally unbanned thousands of accounts that have been beforehand banned for violations of Twitter’s guidelines, and he’s side-stepped his beforehand acknowledged plan to implement a content moderation council to supervise such choices, basically taking the reigns himself on moderation considerations.
However actually, Twitter’s guidelines, so far, haven’t modified. So is he actually making Twitter extra ‘free speech’ pleasant, or is that this all simply bluster designed to make him look cool in entrance of his followers and supporters?
As with all the things Elon, it’s a little bit of each.
Like Trump earlier than him, Musk makes use of Twitter as an unfiltered stream of his each thought, good and unhealthy, which, additionally like Trump, has helped him acquire a large following in the app, and is now a direct driver of media protection and headlines, serving to to additional gas his notoriety. That’s additionally, seemingly, driving more interest at Twitter, however in non-public conferences, Musk can also be undoubtedly working to guarantee advertisers that what he’s doing through his tweets and statements is actually a PR train, whereas in actuality, the enterprise of the platform stays the identical.
That’s why he expects them to maintain spending cash with the app, cash that he desperately wants in order to claw again his $44 billion investment.
However the reinstatement of beforehand banned accounts is a concern for advert companions, as are Musk’s public statements, whether or not they’re reflective of the platform’s precise course of or not.
And this probably gained’t assist – as we speak Elon’s publicly known as out Apple for reducing Twitter advert spend, as he threatened to do a few weeks back.
Apple has largely stopped promoting on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2022
Musk had beforehand flagged a ‘thermonuclear name and shame’ of Twitter advert companions that had reduce Twitter advert spend since his takeover on the app. Which might be not the best way to win them again, whereas in Apple’s case, Musk has gone even additional, claiming that Apple is censoring apps and businesses through its policies. He’s even launched a Twitter poll to ask whether or not ‘Apple ought to publish all censorship actions it has taken that have an effect on its clients’.
Apple ought to publish all censorship actions it has taken that have an effect on its clients
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2022
Selecting a combat with the supplier that facilitates attain to greater than half of your viewers might be not the best strategy – however once more, it’s one other means for Musk to bolster his assist, whereas additionally doubtlessly exhibiting different advert companions that he’s not afraid to name out even the most important corporations, and put them on blast with his many supporters.
Will that cease others from reducing Twitter advert spend? Based on reviews, many Twitter advertisers have already paused all campaigns, whereas Media Matters reports that 50 of the platform’s high 100 advertisers, which have accounted for over $2 billion in spending since 2020, have halted their initiatives in the app.
Coming into Christmas, and the most important advert push of the 12 months, that’s clearly going to have an effect on Twitter’s backside line.
Will Musk’s angst be capable to win them again?
It’s additionally a transitionary interval for the app, with Musk pushing to make subscriptions account for a a lot greater share of Twitter’s total income pie. That may then allow him to keep away from extra censorship guidelines, as a result of he’d now not be beholden to model security considerations – however even then, each Apple and Google have strict rules around moderation in the apps supplied through their shops which might affect Musk’s complete free speech push.
So both method, Musk will probably be restricted in what, precisely, he can do on this entrance, regardless of how loudly he needs to name out Apple and Co. for his or her insurance policies.
Which, once more, factors to Elon’s public statements about such being extra of a media stunt than an precise enterprise technique, with Musk now seemingly trying to paint Apple because the villain that can impede his final objective of giving the individuals what they need.
How does that finish?
Nicely, in the end, with Twitter taking part in by Apple’s guidelines, or getting booted from the App Store, and dropping connection with hundreds of thousands of customers. The previous is way extra probably, however that gained’t cease Musk from milking such conflicts for all they’re value, and portray himself because the hero, in order to cement his reputation with his target market.
However once more, it’s value noting that what Musk says and what he does are sometimes totally different. And that the very individual trying to spotlight the ills of the wealthy elite is himself the richest and elitist of all of them – and he’s utilizing that division and angst as a ploy to make much more cash.