Musk says Twitter feud with Apple boss 'resolved'




  • In Business
  • 2022-12-01 00:08:08Z
  • By BBC
Elon Musk
Elon Musk  

Elon Musk has said he and Apple boss Tim Cook have "resolved the misunderstanding" over Twitter possibly being removed from the app store.

On Monday, Mr Musk accused Apple of threatening to cut the platform from its app store and said it had halted most of its advertising on the site.

But the Twitter boss tweeted on Wednesday that: "Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so."

He did not say if Apple's advertising was discussed at the meeting.

The meeting between the two tech leaders comes as many companies have halted spending on Twitter amid concerns about Mr Musk's content moderation plans for the site - a major blow to the company, which relies on such spending for most of its revenue.

Entering a feud on Monday, Mr Musk accused Apple of "censorship" and criticised its policies, including the charge it levies on purchases made on its app store.

"Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?" he said.

But he later told his followers he was meeting with Mr Cook at Apple's headquarters, adding: "Good conversation. Among other things, we resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store. Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so."

News of the meeting with Apple came after Mr Musk was told he faced "huge work ahead" to bring Twitter into compliance with new European Union rules on disinformation or face a possible ban.

EU commissioner Thierry Breton made the comments in a meeting with Mr Musk on Wednesday, saying the social media site would have to address issues such as content moderation, disinformation and targeted adverts.

Approved by the EU earlier this year, the Digital Services Act is seen as the biggest overhaul of rules governing online activity in decades, imposing new obligations on companies to prevent abuse of their platforms.

Major companies are expected to be in compliance with the law some time next year.

If firms are found to be violation, they face fines of up to 6% of global turnover - or a ban in the case of repeated serious breaches.

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In a statement after the meeting, Mr Breton said he welcomed Mr Musk's assurances that he would get Twitter ready to comply.

"Let's also be clear that there is still huge work ahead, as Twitter will have to implement transparent user policies, significantly reinforce content moderation and protect freedom of speech, tackle disinformation with resolve, and limit targeted advertising," he said.

"All of this requires sufficient AI [Artificial Intelligence] and human resources, both in volumes and skills. I look forward to progress in all these areas and we will come to assess Twitter's readiness on site."

The EU plans to conduct a "stress test" in 2023 ahead of a wider audit, his office said.

Since his $44bn takeover of Twitter last month, Mr Musk has fired thousands of staff, reinstated formerly banned users such as Donald Trump and stopped enforcing other policies, such as rules aimed at stopping misleading information on coronavirus.

The moves have alarmed some civil rights groups, who have accused the billionaire of taking steps that will increase hate speech, misinformation and abuse.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Twitter said none of its policies had changed, but that it was experimenting in an effort to improve the platform more quickly and would rely more on steps to limit the spread of material that violate its rules - offering "freedom of speech but not freedom of reach".

"Our trust & safety team continues its diligent work to keep the platform safe from hateful conduct, abusive behavior, and any violation of Twitter's rules," the company added.

"The team remains strong and well-resourced, and automated detection plays an increasingly important role in eliminating abuse," it said.

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