What happened: Once it became clear that Elon Musk’s Twitter would allow free speech more than any other social media platform—restoring banned accounts and ending its pandemic misinformation policy—Apple threatened to ban Twitter from its app store without explanation, according to Musk. The threat caused a storm of negative public relations and brought Apple’s past transgressions to light.
Apple & free speech: The tech company famously banned Parler, a free speech social media platform, in January 2021. More recently, Apple also helped the Chinese Communist Party stop protests and citizen communication by cutting Chinese iPhones from file-sharing capabilities.
Republicans step in: Apple’s threat caused Republicans to threaten legislative action. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that Apple’s action would be a “raw exercise of monopolistic power” that “would merit a response from the United States Congress.” Other Republicans in Congress echoed the sentiment.
"Don't be a vassal of the CCP on one hand and then use your corporate power in the United States on the other to suffocate Americans and try to suppress their right to express themselves,” said Ron DeSantis.
The criticism is bipartisan: Democrats have proposed antitrust legislation targeting Apple in the past. Some analysts even saw Apple’s threat to ban Twitter as a way to placate censorship-hungry Democrats. And corporations like Meta, Google, and others hurt by Apple’s brutal policies see the company as an enemy—Apple has a 30 percent tax on every in-app purchase on Apple devices and taxes other large corporations on ads.
It seems Republicans, Democrats, and tech giants alike would like to see legislative action taken against Apple. While Republicans fear Apple’s policies silence voices at home and abroad, Democrats criticize the lack of regulation in the Big Tech industry.