Tesla phones an 'alternative' if Apple and Google 'boot' Twitter, Musk responds

The business mogul's opening up to more 'free speech' on Twitter may have ruffled some feathers.
Baba Tamim
Photo illustration, Elon Musk's twitter profile displayed on a mobile phone and his image on a computer screen.
Photo illustration, Elon Musk's twitter profile displayed on a mobile phone and his image on a computer screen.

Muhammed Selim Korkutata / Anadolu Agency/Getty Images 

Elon Musk might have just hinted at making Tesla phones (Tesla Pi) a reality if Apple and Google were to "boot" Twitter from their app stores.

The business mogul's opening up to more "free speech" on Twitter may have ruffled some feathers, and the tech world is a buzz with rumors surrounding Twitter's future in the Apple and Google app stores. 

"If Apple & Google boot Twitter from their app stores, @elonmusk should produce his own smartphone," Liz Wheeler, a video podcaster, said in a Twitter thread on Friday. 

"Half the country[U.S.] would happily ditch the biased, snooping iPhone & Android. The man builds rockets to Mars, a silly little smartphone should be easy, right?" she asked. 

The tech billionaire replied with an "alternative" if his social media company was barred. 

"I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone," said Musk, responding to the thread. 

Both Google's and Apple's policies permit the removal of apps from their respective stores if they contain sexually explicit material, bullying or other forms of harassment, or hate speech.

Schiller's account deletion

The rumors gained new ground after a prominent Apple executive in charge of the App Store deactivated his Twitter account over the last weekend. 

Schiller, an Apple fellow and former top marketing executive for over 30 years at the company, had over 200,000 followers on his Twitter account, which was started in 2008.

"This account doesn't exist," relays a message on his account now. 

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The account was shortly deleted after Musk commented on App Store fees being excessively high. 

"App store fees are obviously too high due to the iOS/Android duopoly. It is a hidden 30% tax on the Internet," Musk Tweeted on November 19. 

He was replying to Slashdot news about Fortnite developer Epic Games' claim regarding Google paying the "equivalent to $360 million" to Activision Blizzard, the developer of Call of Duty, as part of a wide arrangement that included the gaming giant's guarantee not to launch a rival app store.

Apple, Google, Twitter and Free speech

The likelihood that Musk's new version would break Apple or Google's app policies in a way that slows down the company or even results in its software being removed from app stores is one of the biggest threats to Musk's vision for "Twitter 2.0," CNBC reported on Wednesday. 

There are indications that since Musk became CEO, Twitter has already experienced an uptick in "harmful" content in the backdrop of free speech, endangering the company's app. 

A swarm of internet trolls and bigots inundated the website with hate speech and racist slurs in October, not long after Musk was named "chief Twit."

Twitter suspended many of these accounts in response. 

The trolls banded together on 4chan (an imageboard website) before storming Twitter with anti-Black and anti-Jewish slurs, according to the nonprofit Network Contagion Research Institute. 

Earlier, Musk declared "general amnesty" to suspended accounts on Twitter, which generated mixed reactions from users. 

Responding to concerns raised by some rights activists about hate speech against Trans people, Musk said: "Incitement to violence will result in account suspension."

 "Currently suspended accounts will be enabled slowly next week after manual review to determine whether they have potentially broken the law or engaged in spam," he explained. 

 "Twitter will be a forum for the peaceful exchange of views." 

Musk's works on electric vehicles, space exploration, and now social networking are well-known. However, it would be intersting to see how the business magnet treads the line on smartphones since both Google and Apple dominate the scene with their par-excellence operating systems.

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