On Friday, Twitter CEO Elon Musk said that should Apple and Google remove Twitter from their app stores, a move that would be highly damaging to the social media company, he would create his own smartphones.
The response came to a tweet from political commentator Liz Wheeler who wrote, “If Apple & Google boot Twitter from their app stores, @elonmusk should produce his own smartphone. Half the country would happily ditch the biased, snooping iPhone & Android. The man builds rockets to Mars, a silly little smartphone should be easy, right?”
Musk responded, “I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone.”
The statement from Musk comes as pressure from advertisers and left-wing activists becomes more intense, pushing to police content they view as “hate speech.” Musk responded this week, saying the company had already cracked down on hate speech.
“Hate speech impressions down by 1/3 from pre-spike levels,” Musk tweeted. “Congrats to Twitter team!”
“I have half a mind to wag my finger at the 1500 accounts that caused the spike, but I shall forebear,” Musk continued. “Reducing the max allowed tweets/day to a number below what a speed typist on meth could do was helpful.”
Musk then responded to a question from conservative voice Jordan Peterson about how he defines hate speech, saying, “This is simply based on the same list of terms that Twitter has used for some time, so ceteris paribus.”
Musk also announced on Thursday that he was going to grant a mass amnesty to accounts that had been previously banned on the platform.
Musk posted a poll on Wednesday, asking if a mass amnesty of banned accounts was reasonable. The poll ended on Thursday and, after over three million users voted in the poll, the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of amnesty. Nearly three-quarters of voters, 72.4%, voted “yes,” while just 27.6% voted “no.”
“The people have spoken,” Musk wrote after the poll concluded. “Amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei.”
Musk has faced intense criticism over the course of his first month owning the social media giant. While some have viewed his decisions as well thought out and decided, many companies and celebrities have expressed concern and even begun to pull away from the platform.
Most recently, Musk was in hot water over his revamp of the verification system in which anyone could be given a verified check mark for a monthly subscription fee of $8 per month. This caused several issues concerning impersonation, prompting the social media company to change its rules on parody and impersonation.
Twitter temporarily shut down its new subscription system as it began to change several rules around the system, and it intends to reopen with multi-colored checkmarks, including gold checkmarks for companies, gray checkmarks for government officials and blue checkmarks for everyone else.
Musk also fired much of Twitter’s staff with some numbers suggesting that the workforce had been cut down by 75% or more. Musk told the remaining staff last week that they would have to “work long hours at high intensity”
“Twitter will also be much more engineering-driven,” Musk wrote in an email to remaining staff. “Design and product management will still be very important and report to me, but those writing great code will constitute the majority of our team and have the greatest sway. At its heart, Twitter is a software and servers company, so I think this makes sense.”