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WTF?! Twitter is going through a turbulent time right now, to say the least. But things could always get worse. One nightmarish—if unlikely—scenario is Apple and Google banning the app from their respective stores in response to the platform's reduced content moderation. Should the worst happen, owner Elon Musk has an extreme solution: create a brand-new phone.
Between firing half the company's staff and the verified account saga, Twitter boss Musk has been reinstating previously banned accounts, including Donald Trump, Kanye West, and Jordan Peterson—more are coming back this week. He's also been living up to his promise of making Twitter a bastion of free speech by taking a more relaxed approach to content moderation. Moreover, Musk is reportedly looking to monetize adult content on Twitter, making it akin to OnlyFans.
But what one person calls free speech, another will call a toxic cesspool. It's the latter image that has been scaring off advertisers, several of which have suspended ads on the platform since Musk took over. There are also concerns that if the content on Twitter becomes even more objectionable, the app could be kicked from the Google Play and Apple App stores.
Conservative podcaster Liz Wheeler asked if Musk should get around this potentially disastrous worst-case scenario by producing his own smartphone. "The man builds rockets to Mars, a silly little smartphone should be easy, right?" she asked. Wheeler tweeted a poll asking if people would be willing to buy such a phone. Just over 51% of the 130,161 participants voted yes; Wheeler had wrote that "Half the country would happily ditch the biased, snooping iPhone & Android."
Would you switch to a tELONphone? Vote yes or no with your best pun for a name below.— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) November 25, 2022
Musk himself then joined the conversation. He wrote "I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone."
I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 25, 2022
Could Twitter really be banned from the app stores? It's not beyond the realms of possibilty, especially when it comes to Apple, whose safety-first guidelines prohibit apps containing "upsetting or offensive content."
In what could be another ominous sign for Twitter. Key Apple executive Phil Schiller recently deleted his account on the platform after Musk complained about Cupertino's fees, calling them a "hidden 30% tax on the internet."
The world's richest person certainly isn't lacking the resources to build his own phone, but creating a viable alternative to Android and Apple with mass appeal is no easy feat, no matter how many Twitter-loving, snooping-hating mobile users are out there.