Millions of Twitter users called on Elon Musk to step down as head of Twitter in a poll on the platform the billionaire created and vowed to stick to.
As polls closed on Monday, however, it was unclear whether there would be a new leader for the social media platform, which has grown more chaotic and confusing under Musk’s leadership with rapidly changing policies. which are issued and then withdrawn or modified.
Tesla billionaire CEO Musk attended the World Cup final in Qatar on Sunday, where he opened the ballot. After it closed 12 hours later, there was no immediate announcement from Twitter or Musk, who could be in full flight on his way back to the United States early Monday.
More than half of the 17.5 million people polled voted “yes” in response to Musk’s Twitter poll asking if he should step down from the company’s leadership.
Musk has conducted a number of unscientific polls on important issues facing the social media platform, including the reinstatement of journalists he had suspended from Twitter, which has been widely criticized. inside and outside media circles.
The polls have only added to a growing sense of turmoil on Twitter since Musk bought the company for $44 billion in late October, potentially leaving the company’s future direction in the hands of its users.
These users include people recently reinstated on the platform under Musk, people who had been banned for racist and toxic posts, or who had spread misinformation.
Since buying Twitter, Musk has presided over a dizzying series of changes that have baffled advertisers and discouraged users. He laid off half the workforcecontract content moderators removed and dissolve a council trust and security advisors. He dropped enforcement of COVID-19 misinformation rules and called for criminal charges against Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert who helped lead the country’s COVID response.
Musk has clashed with some users on multiple fronts and on Sunday asked Twitter users to decide whether he should remain in charge of the social media platform after acknowledging he made a mistake launching new restrictions prohibiting the mention of rival social media websites on Twitter.
The results of the unscientific online survey on whether Musk should stay on as Twitter’s CEO, which lasted 12 hours, showed that 57.5% of those who voted wanted that he leaves, while 42.5% wanted him to say so.
The poll follows the latest major policy shift since Musk acquired Twitter in October. Twitter had announced that users will no longer be able to log in to Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon and other platforms the company described as “prohibited”.
The move generated immediate backlash, including criticism from former defenders of Twitter’s new owner. Musk then promised that he would not make any major changes to Twitter policy without an online user survey, including who should run the company.
The action to block competitors was Musk’s latest attempt to suppress some speech after shutting down a Twitter account last week following the flights of his private jet.
Prohibited platforms included mainstream websites such as Facebook and Instagram, and upstart rivals Former President Donald Trump’s Mastodon, Tribel, Nostr, Post and Truth Social.
A growing number of Twitter users have left the platform under Musk, or created alternate counts on Mastodon, Tribel, Nostr, or Post, and included those addresses in their Twitter profiles. Twitter gave no explanation as to why the blacklist included some websites but not others such as Talk, TikTok or LinkedIn.
A test case was prominent venture capitalist Paul Graham, who in the past has praised Musk but told his 1.5 million Twitter followers on Sunday that it was the “last straw” and to find it on Mastodon. His Twitter account was quickly suspended, then restored, as Musk reversed the policy put in place hours earlier.
Graham hasn’t posted on Twitter since announcing he would be leaving.
Musk’s political decisions have divided users. He advocated for free speech but suspended journalists and closed a long-running account that tracked the whereabouts of his plane, calling it a security risk.
But as he changed policies and then changed them again, created a sense of confusion on the platform about what is allowed and what is not.
Musk permanently banned the @ElonJet account on Wednesday, then changed Twitter rules to prohibit sharing another person’s current location without their consent. He then took aim at journalists writing on the jet tracking account, which can still be found on other social media sites, alleging they were “essentially spreading assassination coordinates”.
He used it to justify Twitter’s decision last week to suspend the accounts of many journalists who cover the social media platform and Musk, including journalists working for The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Voice of America and other publications. Many of these accounts were restored following an online survey conducted by Musk.
Then, over the weekend, The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz was suspended after requesting an interview with Musk in a tagged tweet to the Twitter owner.
Sally Buzbee, editor of the Washington Post, called it “an arbitrary suspension of another Post reporter” that further undermined Musk’s promise to make Twitter a platform dedicated to free speech.
“Again, the suspension happened without warning, process or explanation – this time because our reporter simply asked Musk for comment for a story,” Buzbee said. At noon on Sunday, Lorenz’s account was restored, as was the tweet that she said had triggered her suspension.
Musk was questioned in court Nov. 16 about how he divides his time between Tesla and his other companies, including SpaceX and Twitter. Musk had to testify in the Delaware Court of Chancery over a shareholder challenge to Musk’s potentially $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 chief executive of another company, preferring to think of himself as an engineer. Musk also said he expects an organizational restructuring of Twitter to be completed within the next week. It’s been over a month since he said that.
In public banter with Twitter followers on Sunday, Musk expressed pessimism about the prospects of a new CEO, saying that this person “must love the pain a lot” to run a company that “has been on the fast lane of bankruptcy”.
“No one wants the job that can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor,” Musk tweeted.
AP writer Brian PD Hannon contributed to this report.