Twitter’s pivot to a paid subscription-funded model pioneered by Elon Musk could soon be tested by the policies of Apple and Google. In his latest newsletter published in Bloomberg on Sunday November 20, American journalist specializing in new technologies Mark Gurman wonders about the social network’s ability to comply with the rules of iPhone application stores and Android smartphones.
In question, first, the weakening of moderation, desired by Elon Musk, to promote freedom of expression on the platform. The numerous layoffs recorded since the billionaire’s takeover have weakened Twitter’s moderation teams, which were already suffering from a lack of human resources. Consequence: racist, anti-Semitic messages and scams have increased on the platform in recent weeks. A recent study by the Center for Combating Digital Hate (CCDH) showed that Twitter failed to remove 99 out of 100 racist tweets targeting players reported to it the week before the World Cup in Qatar. The copyright protection system has also been struggling for a few days, with users taking advantage of it to publish films and series directly on the platform.
However, Apple, and to a lesser degree Google, have a habit of not compromising with applications that give rise to hate speech. The two giants had no hesitation in removing from the App Store and the Play Store the application Parler, haunt of the American far-right, after the attack on the Capitol last January, until the application does not reinforce the control of its contents. The next arbitrations rendered by Elon Musk therefore promise to be closely followed by the two American companies.
Another sticking point mentioned by Bloomberg: the commissions charged by the two app stores on subscriptions and sales made by publishers on their platform. A practice long criticized by Elon Musk, who has already castigated what he considers to be a “global Internet tax” whose fees are too high due to the duopoly situation of the mobile market dominated by iOS and Android. This point could quickly become a source of tension for the entrepreneur who wishes to make Twitter profitable as quickly as possible, in particular through the sale of the Twitter Blue subscription at 8 dollars per month.