Elon Musk has tweeted a poll asking Twitter users to decide whether or not he should step down as CEO, and promising he will abide by the result. The poll is open till approximately 4:30pm India time, or 3am PST, and so the result will be known soon. Musk has had a tumultuous few months as CEO, laying off thousands of Twitter’s staff and implementing massive policy changes such as the botched rollout of a repurposed Twitter Blue premium subscription plan and reversing bans on multiple controversial personalities and organisations including former US President Donald Trump.
Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 18, 2022
Musk has previously stated that he did not want to serve as CEO of Twitter for long, indicating that he would find someone else for the job. He is currently CEO of Tesla Inc, SpaceX, The Boring Company, Neuralink, and the Musk Foundation. He has recently faced criticism for neglecting his other jobs, particularly by prominent Tesla shareholders. Amid reports of advertisers leaving the platform and a significant drop in revenue, Musk has been focused on generating income but has said bankruptcy is possible for the social networking platform.
His tenure as CEO has been controversial, starting with a huge round of layoffs and encouraging more staff to quit or work “extremely hardcore” hours. He has also made fundamental changes to Twitter as a platform and has acted to dismantle much of the platform’s content moderation capabilities in the name of promoting freedom of speech. He has feuded with Apple CEO Tim Cook about a advertising revenue and Apple’s 30 percent cut of in-app transactions. As for product changes, he has suggested that the character limit for tweets could go up to 4,000, fundamentally changing the purpose of the platform, and has also indicated that all users will be able to edit Tweets after posting them.
Musk recently polled Twitter users about whether to reinstate Donald Trump’s suspended account, although it was not clear whether any measures had been taken to prevent vote manipulation. This came after a promise to only make decisions about content moderation and account reinstatements through a “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints”. However, Musk later told company employees that the proposed council would only be “advisory” and he would be the final arbiter of all such decisions anyway. It is unclear whether such a council was ever established, and meanwhile Twitter’s existing Trust and Safety Council has also since been disbanded.
Most recently, Musk was in the news for suddenly banning the accounts of multiple journalists who cover Twitter, as well as an account that reposts public-domain information about the movements of his private jet after explicitly promising not to. Musk has previously referred to himself as a “free speech absolutist”.
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