Twitter users vote overwhelmingly in polls for Musk’s resignation as CEO
Well over half of 17.5 million users who responded to a poll asking whether billionaire Elon Musk should step down as Twitter boss voted yes by the end of the poll Monday morning.
There was no immediate announcement from Twitter or Musk as to whether that would happen, although he had said he would stick to the results.
Musk has clashed with some users on multiple fronts and on Sunday he asked Twitter users to decide whether he should remain in charge of the social media platform after admitting he made a mistake in introducing new language restrictions that banned mention of competing social media sites.
Musk tweeted the results after the poll was completed. They weren’t even close:
Should I step down as Twitter boss? I will stick to the results of this poll.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 18, 2022
In a public banter with Twitter followers on Sunday, Musk expressed pessimism about the prospects for a new CEO, saying that person “must be very fond of pain” to lead a company that was “on the fast track to bankruptcy.”
“No one wants the job that can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor,” Musk tweeted.
Bloomberg reported that shares of Tesla, which Musk also chairs, rallied after the earnings release. Many Tesla shareholders feel Musk hasn’t given the electric carmaker the attention it deserves since buying Twitter. And Musk has been selling Tesla stock to raise money since the Twitter purchase.
In another significant policy change, Twitter had announced that users would no longer be able to link to Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon and other platforms, which the company described as “banned.”
But that decision immediately drew so much criticism, including from former defenders of Twitter’s new billionaire, that Musk vowed not to make any more major policy changes without an online poll of users.
The action to block competitors was Musk’s latest attempt to crack down on certain statements after he shut down a Twitter account tracking his private jet’s flights last week.
Banned platforms included mainstream websites like Facebook and Instagram, as well as former President Donald Trump’s rising rivals Mastodon, Tribel, Nostr, Post and Truth Social. Twitter didn’t provide an explanation as to why the blacklist included those seven sites but not others like Parler, TikTok, or LinkedIn.
Twitter had announced that it would at least temporarily ban accounts containing the blocked websites on their profile – a practice so widespread that it would have been difficult to enforce the restrictions on millions of Twitter users around the world. Not only links, but attempts to circumvent the ban by writing “instagram dot com” could have resulted in a suspension, the company said.
A test case was prominent venture capitalist Paul Graham, who had praised Musk in the past but on Sunday told his 1.5million Twitter followers that it was the “last straw” and finding him on Mastodon. His Twitter account was promptly suspended and restored shortly thereafter when Musk vowed to reverse the policy put in place just hours earlier.
Musk said Twitter will continue to suspend some accounts under the policy, but “only if that account’s (asterisk) primary (asterisk) purpose is to advertise competitors.”
Twitter previously took action to block links to Mastodon after its main Twitter account tweeted about the ElonJet controversy last week. Mastodon has grown rapidly in recent weeks as an alternative for Twitter users unhappy with Musk’s overhaul of Twitter since he bought the company for $44 billion in late October and began restoring accounts that flouted the rules the previous Twitter leadership violated hateful behavior and others harms.
Musk permanently suspended the ElonJet account on Wednesday and then changed Twitter’s rules to prohibit sharing someone’s current location without their consent. He then targeted journalists who wrote about the jet-tracking account, which can still be found on other social media sites, claiming they were “basically broadcasting murder coordinates.”
In doing so, he justified Twitter’s moves last week to suspend the accounts of numerous journalists covering the social media platform and Musk, including reporters working for the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Voice of America and others publications work. Many of these accounts have been recovered following an online poll conducted by Musk.
Then, over the weekend, Taylor Lorenz became the youngest journalist to be temporarily banned from The Washington Post. She said she was suspended after posting a message on Twitter tagging Musk and requesting an interview.
Washington Post editor-in-chief Sally Buzbee called it an “arbitrary suspension of another Post journalist,” further undermining Musk’s promise to operate Twitter as a platform for free speech.
“Again, the suspension came without warning, trial or explanation – this time our reporter simply solicited comment from Musk for a story,” Buzbee said. By midday Sunday, Lorenz’s account was restored, as was the tweet she believed triggered her suspension.
Musk’s promise to let users decide his future role at Twitter through an unscientific online poll seemed to come out of nowhere on Sunday, although he also promised in November that a restructuring would take place soon.
Musk was questioned in court on Nov. 16 about how he divides his time between Tesla and his other companies, including SpaceX and Twitter. Musk was testifying in the Delaware Court of Chancery over a shareholder’s challenge to Musk’s potential $55 billion compensation plan as CEO of the electric car company.
Musk said he never intended to be CEO of Tesla, nor did he want to be CEO of another company, preferring to see himself as an engineer. Musk also said he expects an organizational reorganization of Twitter to be completed in the next week or so. It’s been over a month since he said that.