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In a speech Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that if Apple removed Twitter from the App Store, it would face antitrust sanctions for violating free speech.
The video posted on Twitter begins with DeSantis (R-FL) mentioning how Apple restricted AirDrop in iOS 16.1.1, claiming it was to limit protests in China. He then claimed that Apple was threatening to remove Twitter from the App Store because Elon Musk was bringing free speech back to the platform.
#BREAKING: @GovRonDeSantis (R-FL) is blowing up reports that #Apple might remove Twitter from the App Store, praises @ElonMusk for “opening it up to free speech.” pic.twitter.com/6XslT3mmAl
— Forbes (@Forbes) November 29, 2022
DeSantis mentioned that Musk brought back accounts that were “unfairly and illegally” suspended, saying they were suspended for spreading accurate information about COVID-19. He compared the situation to Chinese people protesting the Chinese Communist Party and hinted that if Apple removed Twitter from the App Store, that would also silence free speech.
According to DeSantis, if Apple does remove Twitter, it will have to face requests from the US Congress. In particular, this should lead to antitrust and monopoly actions against Apple.
AirDrop is harder, than the sound bite allows…
In early November, the company added a ten-minute limit to AirDrop for sharing content through the Everyone setting. The feature is currently being tested in China, Apple has already said it will eventually be rolled out to customers around the world to prevent getting unwanted nudity on a subway car.
In the past, protesters have used AirDrop to their advantage. For example, in 2019 protesters in Hong Kong reportedly used AirDrop to distribute digital pamphlets about an extradition bill.
This setting is completely separate from Twitter, despite the implications in DeSantis' speech.
… same as content moderation
< p > Musk used a similar assertion in a tweet on Monday after Apple suspended its ad spending on Twitter. In response, Musk asked if Apple hates free speech in America.
Ten minutes later, Musk posted a separate blaming tweet. “Apple also threatened that Twitter would not be available on the App Store, but didn't tell us why,” he said.
Apple hasn't commented publicly on the issue yet, and probably won't. However, if Twitter's status in the App Store is in jeopardy, it's probably due to content moderation, because the lack of such moderation is against Apple's App Store Review Guidelines and has been since Steve Jobs ruled Apple.
Since his acquisition, Musk has fired thousands of Twitter employees. The engineers are leaving, the entire communications team, almost the entire ethics team, and the people who review the users.
And on Tuesday, a report showed that Twitter's child safety team responsible for removing child abuse content from the platform was cut in half in the US — and steeper cuts were made internationally.
Apple has removed other social networking apps due to lax moderation policies. This famously happened to Parler, which was brought back to the App Store after it followed Apple's Terms of Service.
The company has strict application content policies that restrict defamatory, discriminatory, and pornographic content. Applications with user-generated content, such as social media platforms, must have filters for inappropriate content, a way to report content, and the ability to block offensive users.
Twitter and Musk aren't the only ones with free speech — Apple is right too. The Company has the right to do business with anyone, including what it chooses to spend its advertising budget on and what policies it enforces on its App Store.
The recommendations for apps in the App Store that require effective content moderation are specific. If the company decides to remove Twitter from the store, users will still be able to access it through Safari or another — or app while it's still on the device.
Through the Internet, the company will be free even from other Apple rules.