Elon Musk Picks a Combat with Apple Over App Retailer Insurance policies and Discount in Twitter Advert Spend


Have Twitter’s insurance policies on freedom of speech truly modified? Is Musk permitting the app to turn out to be the ‘free for all hellscape’ that he as soon as advised advertisers he would keep away from?

Are Elon’s tweets all simply an attention-grab, and never reflective of his precise strategy?

It’s laborious 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 protected promoting within 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, a minimum of partially, a publicity ploy. Musk is aware of that a few of his largest supporters are backing his push to fight what they understand as media bias, so he performs into that together with his numerous 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’d evolve over time. That doc, a minimum of to date, stays unchanged, however Musk has since (on November nineteenth) tweeted that:

Now, that’s not technically a change to Twitter’s guidelines, however Musk appears to be attempting to play either side, by permitting tweets that may be thought-about ‘hate speech’ to stay within the app, whereas additionally making it a lot more durable for individuals to seek out such. On this manner, Musk can preserve 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’.

In fact, Musk has additionally unbanned thousands of accounts that had been beforehand banned for violations of Twitter’s guidelines, and he’s side-stepped his beforehand said plan to implement a content moderation council to supervise such selections, basically taking the reigns himself on moderation issues.

However actually, Twitter’s guidelines, to date, 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 dangerous, which, additionally like Trump, has helped him acquire an enormous following within the app, and is now a direct driver of media protection and headlines, serving to to additional gasoline 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 by way of his tweets and statements is basically 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 with the intention to claw again his $44 billion investment.

However the reinstatement of beforehand banned accounts is a priority 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 possible gained’t assist – in the present day Elon’s publicly known as out Apple for reducing Twitter advert spend, as he threatened to do a few weeks back.

Musk had beforehand flagged a ‘thermonuclear name and shame’ of Twitter advert companions that had lower 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 prospects’.

Choosing 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 displaying different advert companions that he’s not afraid to name out even the most important corporations, and put them on blast together with his many supporters.

Will that cease others from reducing Twitter advert spend? In accordance with stories, many Twitter advertisers have already paused all campaigns, whereas Media Matters reports that 50 of the platform’s prime 100 advertisers, which have accounted for over $2 billion in spending since 2020, have halted their initiatives within 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 have the ability 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 might then allow him to keep away from extra censorship guidelines, as a result of he’d not be beholden to model security issues – however even then, each Apple and Google have strict rules around moderation within the apps offered by way of their shops which might impression Musk’s whole free speech push.

So both manner, Musk shall 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 purpose of giving the individuals what they need.

How does that finish?

Effectively, finally, with Twitter enjoying by Apple’s guidelines, or getting booted from the App Retailer, and shedding reference to tens of millions of customers. The previous is way extra possible, however that gained’t cease Musk from milking such conflicts for all they’re price, and portray himself because the hero, with the intention to cement his recognition together with his audience.

However once more, it’s price noting that what Musk says and what he does are sometimes totally different. And that the very particular person 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.  

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