DeSantis says Congress should act if Apple follows through on Elon Musk claims and bans Twitter from App Store

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives a victory speech after defeating Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Charlie Crist during his election night watch party at the Tampa Convention Center on November 8, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives a victory speech after defeating Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Charlie Crist during his election night watch party at the Tampa Convention Center on November 8, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.Octavio Jones/Getty Images
  • Elon Musk has alleged that Apple has threatened to remove Twitter from its App store.

  • DeSantis said such a move would be a "huge mistake" and would warrant congressional action.

  • Musk has said he'd support DeSantis for president in 2024.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida said Tuesday that Congress should intervene if Apple boots Twitter from its App Store.

"That would be a huge, huge mistake, and it would be a really raw exercise of monopolistic power that I think would merit a response from the United States Congress," DeSantis said during a press conference in Jacksonville, Florida.

DeSantis was responding to allegations from Twitter owner Elon Musk. On Monday, Musk accused Apple of considering retaliation against Twitter by threatening to remove the social media company from its App Store. While Musk said Apple didn't cite a reason, he accused the world's largest tech company of being hostile toward "free speech."

DeSantis ran with Musk's comments on free speech during his remarks on Tuesday and praised Musk for his work at Twitter. DeSantis said the billionaire was "actually opening it up for free speech" and was "restoring a lot of accounts that were unfairly and illegitimately suspended for putting out accurate information about COVID."

He also condemned Apple for blocking people in China from using the Airdrop function on iPhones during protests against government-forced COVID-19 lockdowns.

"Don't be a vassal of the CCP on one hand," DeSantis said, referring to the Chinese Communist Party, "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."

Musk has on several occasions endorsed DeSantis for president in 2024, including as recently as last week. Musk called DeSantis "sensible and centrist," though he said he voted for Joe Biden for president in 2020.

When asked about Musk's political support, DeSantis has previously said he welcomes "support from African Americans." Musk, who is white, was born in Pretoria, South Africa, and lived there until he was 17 before moving to Canada.

Since taking the helm at Twitter, Musk has reinstated several accounts, including that of former President Donald Trump, who was originally kicked off the platform in 2021 for inciting the violent January 6 riot inside the US Capitol. Critics of Musk's approach are concerned about hate speech and lies proliferating on the platform.

Numerous companies, such as pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and fast-food chain Chipotle, have paused their Twitter advertising.

Apple may be next. Musk on Monday accused Apple of holding a monopoly that uses its power for censorship, and of pulling back its Twitter advertising.

If Apple were to remove Twitter from its App Store, then current users couldn't download Twitter updates and new users wouldn't be able download the Twitter app onto their iPhones or iPads. Apple previously banned the social media app Parler from its store, drawing the ire of conservatives.

Apple did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment from Insider. Its terms and conditions ban services that "post objectionable, offensive, unlawful, deceptive, inaccurate, or harmful content."

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during the media briefing Monday that the White House was "keeping an eye on" how Musk was operating Twitter.

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