What is going on between Twitter and Apple?

5 Dec 2022

Elon Musk at The Summit 2013. Image: Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media (CC BY 2.0)

Elon Musk said Apple had ‘mostly stopped’ advertising on Twitter, while the social media company has reportedly been offering incentives to bring back advertisers.

Elon Musk said Apple has “fully resumed” advertising on Twitter following a period of tension between the two companies.

Musk made the claim during a Twitter Spaces conversation on Saturday (3 December), adding that Apple is the largest advertiser on Twitter, Bloomberg reports.

The social media company has been facing advertising issues since Musk took over at the end of October. Last month, global media investment company GroupM reportedly advised clients that buying ads on Twitter had become a “high-risk” endeavour.

Other big ad players such as IPG and Omnicom Media Group had also recommended that clients pause ads on the platform.

What happened between Twitter and Apple?

Musk said in a Twitter post at the end of November that Apple had “mostly stopped” its advertising on Twitter and tagged Apple CEO Tim Cook in a reply, asking for a response.

Apple has not commented on the matter.

Musk also claimed that Apple “threatened” to withhold Twitter from its App Store without an explanation. The same day, Musk created a poll for his Twitter followers, asking if Apple should “publish all censorship actions it has taken that affect its customers”.

He then called out Apple for the 30pc commission it takes on App Store transactions.

Apple had committed more than $150m on Twitter ads in 2022, three sources told The New York Times last month. However, the company paused its advertising after the Colorado Springs nightclub shooting that occurred on 19 November, two people told the publication.

On 30 November, Musk tweeted that he had met with Cook at Apple’s headquarters and had “resolved the misunderstanding” of Twitter potentially being removed from Apple’s App Store. Cook was “clear” that Apple never considered doing this, Musk added.

What about other advertisers on Twitter?

While the recent focus has been on Apple’s advertising on Twitter, the social media company has been dealing with a wave of other companies reducing their ad spend.

Musk’s plans to shake up the platform’s blue tick system and charge users $8 a month to gain this verified status led to a number of impersonation incidents that impacted brands on the site.

Since then, Twitter has reportedly been offering incentives to get advertisers back on the platform. The social media company described the offer as the “biggest advertiser incentive ever on Twitter,” according to an email sent to advertisers and seen by Reuters.

Yesterday (4 December), Musk posted on Twitter to thank advertisers for returning to the platform. The same day, Platformer managing editor Zoë Schiffer said Amazon also plans to resume advertising on Twitter at around “$100m a year”, pending security tweaks to Twitter’s ads platform.

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Elon Musk at The Summit 2013. Image: Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic