Apple Inc.’s Twitter account remains online and CEO Tim Cook continues to post on his Twitter account, quelling speculation that the tech giant will remove the platform from its App Store, which would dramatically restrict iPhone access to the site.
Apple Fellow Phil Schiller, who leads Apple’s App Store and Apple Events, deactivated his Twitter account on Nov. 19. The following day, links to his account said it no longer exists.
Schiller deleted his account after new owner Elon Musk announced the platform would relaunch its Twitter Blue $8 paid subscription service on Nov. 29 and reinstated former President Donald Trump’s account, which had been suspended in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach.
Schiller, who has been with Apple since 1987 and previously served as its senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, created his Twitter account in 2008 and had more than 265,000 followers.
He frequently used his account to promote Apple products, services, and software and often engaged with people responding to his posts.
Schiller has not publicly stated why he deleted his account. As of press time, Apple had not responded to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.
Cook in a Nov. 20 Twitter post offered condolences to the victims of a shooting at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that left five dead, stating Apple will “redouble our commitment to building a world where everyone can live and thrive as their full selves.”
Schiller’s Twitter departure came several days after Musk claimed in a Twitter post that “app store fees are obviously too high due to the iOS/Android duopoly”—a shot at Apple and Google, the internet’s dominant “gatekeepers.”
Since a significant majority of Twitter users access the platform via iPhones or Android devices, Apple and Google would actually profit from Musk’s push to make Twitter Blue a subscription service.
Apple charges services 30 percent of subscriptions purchased through its App Store—which would amount to $2.80 of the $8 Twitter Blue monthly fee—and Google 15 percent for subscriptions purchased through Google Play. Musk has called the fees a “tax on the internet.”
Users can sign up for Twitter Blue on Twitter’s website without going through the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Musk has been embroiled in non-stop controversy since he purchased the platform in October for $44 billion and laid off more than half of its 7,000 employees, including content moderators and engineers, spurring concern from Cook and others about an increase in misinformation, scams, and racist and antisemitic posts.
In addition to restoring Trump’s account on Nov. 18—the day before Schiller deleted his account—the platform restored Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green’s account on Nov. 21.
Apple has removed social media platforms from its App Store before in response to complaints about content, including Parler for three months in early 2021.
Twitter content moderation, and the California-based company’s capacity to regulate it amid layoffs and other actions by Musk, is not only an issue in the United States.
Twitter has been ordered to increase the number of Twitter moderators in the European Union (EU) if it wants to operate there, said a top EU regulator.
EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton warned in a Nov. 17 Twitter post, ironically, that Twitter must “fly by our rules” if it wants to do business in the EU.
“He is in the process of reducing a certain number of moderators, but he will have to increase them in Europe,” he told France Info earlier this month.
Under the EU’s Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act, both enacted Nov. 16, larger internet platforms such as Twitter will need to comply with more stringent content moderation rules.
The Irish Data Protection Commission, the EU’s chief privacy enforcer, once fined Twitter $448,360 back in 2020 for violating the General Data Protection Regulation, EU privacy and data protection rules.