The battle for Twitter keeps rolling on. Here’s a round-up of the online war and how Musk uses Twitter’s interior lines to a significant effect:


Assumption or rumor: Apple was considering banning Twitter from their AppStore due to pressure from the networked #swarm.

Data point: Apple, Twitter’s largest advertiser, had already paused its advertising.

Opportunity: Apple came under fire for supporting China’s suppression of COVID protests (they limited airdrop).

Maneuver: Elon leaks the rumor that Apple is considering a ban.

Maneuver 2: Elon points out Apple’s abuse of its platform’s dominance.

Effect: Apple gets more negative coverage in one day than in a year.

Hidden maneuver: Twitter offers Apple significant incentives to resume advertising (Apple spent $180m in 2022).

Result: Elon meets with Tim Cook (Apple’s CEO), and the threat of a ban is dismissed. Apple resumes advertising on Twitter. An anchor participant in the war against Twitter is removed.

The Twitter Files

Musk makes a strategic play to prove Twitter is restoring free speech.

Maneuver 1: He does this by releasing internal Twitter e-mails showing government requests to suppress people and ideas on the platform.

Maneuver 2: He provides these documents to the allies (substack personalities like Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss) he generated by unbanning accounts instead of the establishment press (he can’t open source them because they aren’t anonymized).

Effect: The stories generated show cooperation between the political parties and Twitter on censorship.

Result: While the files generate little national coverage in the traditional press, they have a strategic impact.

They provide Musk with legitimacy (“defender of free speech”) for his actions.
They protect against government action in the future (requests or investigations). Assumption: he will quickly make government pressure public.
Directing the distribution builds up the value of the online press (on Twitter, substack, etc.) at the expense of traditional media.

Sounds about right.