Politico

Never mind, Musk says — accusation against Apple was a ‘misunderstanding’

Elon Musk publicly retracted his accusations that Apple had threatened to remove Twitter from its App Store — two days after his claim unleashed a tsunami of Republican attacks and threats of reprisals against the iPhone-maker.

In fact, the billionaire said in an unusually cordial tweet late Wednesday it was all just a big mix-up that Apple CEO Tim Cook managed to resolve in a “good conversation.”

“Among other things, we resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store,” Musk wrote. “Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so.”

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Musk did not explain how the alleged misunderstanding had occurred.

Cook is expected to be in Washington on Thursday, meeting with senators among others.

Musk had a much different tone Monday, when he issued a series of tweets accusing Apple of threatening to “withhold” Twitter from the App Store, among other unspecified “censorship actions” that he laid at Apple’s feet. Those tweets remained live on Musk’s Twitter feed as of Wednesday night.

Removal from the App Store would pose an almost existential threat to Twitter by making it impossible for iPhone and iPad users to load the social media app onto their devices. Musk’s accusation provoked a tide of anti-Apple attacks from Republicans, including lawmakers and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential GOP presidential nominee in 2024.

Republicans cited the alleged threat as evidence that Congress needs to enact antitrust legislation loosening Apple’s control over the App Store, a bulwark of the company’s $2 trillion-plus fortune.

Wednesday’s retraction is just the latest twist involving Musk since he bought Twitter last month, fired much of its staff and began reversing years worth of its content decisions, including by inviting former President Donald Trump and other right-wing figures back to the site. Civil rights and anti-disinformation groups have complained that Musk’s moves are causing a resurgence of hate speech and harmful propaganda on Twitter — the kind of content that violates rules governing Apple’s app marketplace.

Mohar Chatterjee contributed to this report.

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