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Twitter’s new ruler Elon Musk makes so many pronouncements on the platform, it’s hard to keep track. This week alone, Musk polled Twitter users over whether he should provide “general amnesty” to suspended accounts and got into a public fight over whether the disgraced founder of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, owns a part of Twitter. On Friday, Musk was at it again, telling people that he may make an alternative phone to face off against Apple and Google.
The tech billionaire’s comments were made, naturally, in response to a tweet directed at him by conservative podcaster and former OANN host Liz Wheeler. On Friday afternoon, Wheeler tweeted that Musk should make his own phone if Apple and Google decide to kick Twitter off their app stores. Twitter’s future in Apple and Google’s app stores has been a hot topic lately, given Musk’s commitment to “free speech”—as long as it doesn’t offend him—and lax content moderation.
“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,” Wheeler said on Friday. “The man builds rockets to Mars, a silly little smartphone should be easy, right?”
Three hours later, Musk told Wheeler that he would build his own phone if Twitter got banned from Apple and Google’s app stores, the official gateways to iPhone and Android devices across the globe. In what might have been an homage to Musk, who loves polling people on Twitter, Wheeler had started a poll of her own asking people if they would use a “tELONphone.”
At of the time of publication, “Yes” was the leading response, with 56.2% of the 52,707 votes cast.
“I certainly hope it does not come to that, but, yes, if there is no other choice, I will make an alternative phone,” Musk tweeted.
Both Apple and Google have policies that ban apps in its stores from containing hate or discriminatory speech, bullying, harassment, and sexually explicit content. In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Apple and Google kicked Parler off their app stores for its role in helping rioters plan the event, although it was allowed back after making changes. Kanye West, who legally changed his name to Ye, is reportedly in talks to buy Parler.
While Musk has declared his intention to build his own phone should Apple and Google cross him, it’s important to remember that this man says a lot of things that don’t end up happening. Remember the Tesla Semi, which is three years past deadline? Or the Cybertruck, which turned out not to be bulletproof in a live demonstration? Heck, the only reason he owns Twitter is because he couldn’t figure out a way to get out of the deal.
Apple and Google didn’t reply to Gizmodo’s requests for comment by the time of publication.