MTech billionaire Elon Musk has caused a stir with a surprise vote on his own future as the head of messaging service Twitter. “Should I resign as CEO of Twitter?” Musk asked in a tweet Monday night, giving users a chance to answer yes or no to the question.
By Monday morning, he had a majority in place, with about 15 million participants. At that time, 57 percent of those who participated in the poll said yes and 43 percent said no.
In a post-poll tweet, Musk wrote that he would defer to the outcome of the poll. According to the tweet, voting will take place until 12:20 pm German time. If the majority favors replacing Musk and the CEO does indeed resign, the exact consequences for the company are still unclear. However, the fact remains that Musk would be the most powerful man on Twitter even without his executive position.
The 51-year-old Tesla boss took over the texting service in October for $44 billion and laid off a large chunk of the workforce to cut costs at the loss-making company.
In some areas of politics and civil society, multi-billionaires using the world’s most important texting service at will can have a negative impact on democratic opinion formation, for example by not allowing any action against misinformation. Other actions of the controversial entrepreneur also drew heavy criticism. He recently blocked the Twitter accounts of several American journalists, but later unbanned them.
Not the first survey
This isn’t the first poll Musk has run on Twitter. For example, he voted on whether former US President Donald Trump could work on the texting service again. Yes, he could, the answer came with a narrow majority, and Twitter unbanned the account again in November. Last year, Musk voted on Twitter to sell one-tenth of his Tesla shares.
His plan to no longer allow Twitter users to advertise their presence on some competing platforms, including Facebook, Instagram or Mastodon, has sparked outrage. Musk promised in another tweet Monday night that major changes to the site’s guidelines would be voted on in the near future. “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
Musk has always presented himself as a champion of free speech. He eventually propagated conspiracy theories on Twitter and used the platform to promote American Republicans in his tweets. The online service has grown into an important communication platform in recent years: governments, officials and politicians around the world use Twitter for their public relations work.
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