Now that Elon Musk’s Twitter is reinstating accounts of users that were previously banned from the platform, including former president Donald Trump, the prospect of Apple and Google banning Twitter from their app stores suddenly doesn’t look entirely unlikely.
Should that ever happen, Musk says he’s ready to simply build his own phone, with (presumably) an app store of its own.
“I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone,” he tweeted in response to a user asking what would happen if Apple and Google booted Twitter from their app stores.
Neither Apple or Google have officially said or indicated they plan to ban Twitter, though both companies do have policies in place that prevent hate speech, discrimination, and harassment. Both companies have at one point banned Parler, a right-wing alternative to Twitter, though Apple let it return to its App Store in April 2021, and Google reinstated the app this September after it made improvements to its moderation policies.
Musk previously said he would not reinstate any Twitter account without forming a “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints,” but he quickly backpedaled on that, reinstating Trump’s account after conducting a Twitter poll. The company also experienced a wave of impersonations and fake news after Musk decided to turn Twitter’s blue checkmark, originally a way to verify a user’s identity, into something you can buy for $8 a month (the company is currently reworking the system, and a re-launch is expected on Friday).
Apple and Google banning Twitter from their app stores would certainly be an enormous detriment to Twitter, as the vast majority of smartphone users globally would be unable to easily access the app and would need to resort to the web version to use the platform. And even if Musk were to build his own “alternative phone,” turning it into a viable product with a thriving ecosystem of apps would be a tough task, even for the world’s richest man.
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