Elon Musk has announced big, if confusing, plans for Twitter since he took over the social network last month.
Musk wants to significantly increase the company's revenue through subscriptions, while opening the site to more "freedom of expression", which in some cases seems to mean restoring previously banned accounts such as those owned by former President Donald Trump.
But Musk's plans for Twitter could put him in conflict with two of the major technology companies, Apple and Google.
Tensions are running high
One of the biggest risks to Musk's vision of "Twitter 2.0" is the possibility that his changes could violate Apple's or Google's guidelines.
In a tweet last week, Musk complained about app store fees that Google and Apple charge companies like Twitter.
"Apparently, app store fees are very high due to the Android and iOS duopoly... it's a 30% hidden tax on internet usage," Musk wrote in a tweet.
In a follow-up post to the tweet, he tagged the account of the Department of Justice's antitrust division, which is said to be investigating App Store rules.
His complaint relates to the 15% to 30% of payments Apple and Google get from in-app purchases, which could eat into the revenue Twitter needs and Musk seeks to impose on Twitter Blue subscriptions, which he set at 8. dollars per month.
Musk's plan to introduce paid blue verification badges also led to chaos and accounts impersonating big companies and numbers, causing some advertisers to distance themselves from the social network.
Musk complained last week about app store fees imposed by Google and Apple on companies such as Twitter (Shutterstock)
App stores audit Twitter
"When I left the company, the calls from the app store's app review teams had already begun," Yoel Roth, Twitter's former head of trust and safety, wrote this month in The New York Times.
Over the weekend, the former Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, who still oversees the App Store, appears to have deleted his Twitter account widely followed by hundreds of thousands of followers.
Fees and subscription revenue
Twitter and Apple have been partners for years.
In 2011, Apple integrated its tweets on the platform into its operating system.
Tweets that are considered official company communications are regularly posted on Apple CEO Tim Cook's account, as the company announces its latest products such as new iPhones and its latest big releases directly on Twitter.
But the relationship appears set to change as Musk tries to make more income from subscriptions.
Musk said that the goal in the future is for half of the platform's revenue to come from subscriptions, but in this case hundreds of millions of dollars will go to Apple and Google, which is a small amount for them, but it is likely to be a huge blow to Twitter.
One of Apple's main rules is that digital content — game coins, tokens, or a premium subscription — purchased within an iPhone app must use Apple's in-app purchase mechanism, which directly charges the user 30 percent of sales and drops to 15 percent. % after a year of subscriptions, and you pay the rest to the developer, which in this case is Twitter.
Companies such as Epic Games, Spotify and Match Group have lobbied against Apple and Google's actions as part of the Coalition for App Fairness.
Microsoft and Meta have also filed briefs in court criticizing the system, and have made public remarks targeting app stores.
Mask could sell Twitter Blue on the company's website for cheaper, and tweet to his more than 118 million followers that Twitter Blue is only available on Twitter.
This could help cut off revenue from Apple.
Apple approved the release of "Truth Social", which is Trump's social networking application (French)
Power struggle over moderation in content
Musk challenges Apple and Google's power to refuse approval or even pull apps that violate their rules on content moderation and harmful content.
It has happened before, with Apple saying in a letter to Congress last year that it removed more than 30,000 apps from its store due to objectionable content in 2020.
Apple and Google can remove apps for various reasons, such as issues with the app's security and whether it complies with the companies' core rules.
And they could delay app reviews, causing delayed releases and creating chaos when Musk wants to launch new features.
In the past few years, app stores have started to closely scrutinize user-generated content on various social platforms.
There is precedent for a complete ban.
Apple and Google banned Parler, a much smaller, conservative-leaning site, in 2020 after posts promoted the January 6 Capitol riot and included calls for violence.
In the case of Apple, the decision to ban high-profile apps was made by a group called the Executive Review Board, which is led by Apple CEO Schiller.
Although Apple approved the release of "Truth Social", Trump's social networking app, last February, the Google Play store took longer to approve it.
Apple and Google have been careful while banning apps like Parler, citing violations of specific guidelines such as screenshots of offensive posts, rather than citing broad political reasons or pressure from lawmakers.
Future features may also upset Apple and Google, prompting a closer look at the platform's current operations.
Musk has talked about allowing users to create videos, something the former employees believe will lead to the feature being used for adult content, according to The Washington Post.
The Apple App Store has never allowed pornography, a policy dating back to company founder Steve Jobs, and Google also bans apps centered around sexual content.
Apple's guidelines state, "Apps that contain user-generated content or services that primarily end up with pornographic content... do not belong in the App Store and may be removed without notice."
But Musk often runs toward fights, not away from them.
Now he has to decide whether it's worth taking two of Silicon Valley's most valuable and powerful companies a fee of more than 30%, and Twitter's ability to host sensational tweets.