Will Elon Musk step down as Twitter CEO?

Ganiu Oloruntade

When Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, floated the idea of buying Twitter, many thought it was a joke taken too far until it became a reality in October — of course, after months of legal face-offs between the billionaire and the company.

And barely two months in the saddle, the Chief Twit is on the verge of relinquishing his position as the head of the social media platform he acquired for a whopping $44 billion, should he abide by the results of a poll he conducted on Twitter.

Coming on the heels of the many backlashes in response to his now-reversed ban on all links to Instagram, Mastodon, and other competitors, Musk sought to win some sympathy with the poll.

On Sunday, Twitter announced a new social media platform promotion policy that prohibited users from sharing links to some of their other social media accounts. Worried by heavy criticisms, the microblogging platform would later rescind the decision.

“Going forward, there will be a vote for major policy changes. My apologies. Won’t happen again,” Musk tweeted on Sunday evening.

In pursuit of this apology in line with his “free speech” mission, the Chief Twit created a poll, asking tweeps if he should step down as Twitter boss and promised to abide by the result.

As of Monday afternoon, when the poll ended, a total of 17.5 million tweeps had voted, with 57.5% — representing over 10 million users — voting ‘Yes’, while 42.5% still want Elon Musk as Twitter boss.

Related article: Elon Musk’s free speech campaign flew too close to the sun and crashed.

Twitter users want Musk to go

It is hardly surprising that many users subscribe to the idea that the South African billionaire end his run as Twitter CEO. Since his much-talked-about takeover of the company, Twitter has had one drama or the other thanks to his controversial policy changes.

More recently, he had come under fire for suspending the Twitter accounts of high-profile journalists following a controversy over publishing public data about the billionaire’s plane.

This move was largely conceived to be self-contradictory since Musk has repeatedly espoused his commitment to free speech. It was condemned by government officials, advocacy groups and journalism organisations.

A few days later, Elon Musk reinstated most of the banned accounts after polling users on whether Twitter should lift their suspensions.

Finally, Elon Musk buys Twitter for $44bn, fires CEO and CFO
Image source: Teslarati

Just three weeks ago, Yoel Roth, the former Head of Trust and Safety at Twitter, granted an interview with CNN, saying Elon Musk’s dictatorial management style would continue to hurt the micro-blogging platform.

Roth had explained that should the new Twitter owner continue to operate in this manner, he would drive the much-loved company into unforced business blunders, content moderation disasters, and the degradation of the features that help protect vulnerable users.

But Twitter usage appears to have risen in the weeks following Musk’s takeover: in the first weekend of November, Twitter saw its most daily active users ever, according to data from Apptopia, seen by Insider.

Last week, the Chief Twit announced that Twitter is preparing to delete 1.5 billion inactive accounts to free up dormant handles, or user names, on the platform.

Read also: Elon Musk’s style has made Twitter more dangerous, former top official explains.

Elon Musk is likely to respect the will of the majority

For all his flaws, Musk has mostly stuck to his idea of allowing the public to decide what happens — perhaps to give the impression that he remains committed to free speech, which is rooted in the right of the people.

Elon Musk, CEO, Twitter
Chief Twit, Elon Musk.

Since he became Chief Twit, he has (mostly) acted in line with the results of polls conducted on his own Twitter account. For example, Musk had announced that Twitter was reinstating thousands of banned accounts following the outcome of a poll, barely a week after he reinstated the account of former U.S. president Donald Trump who is yet to return to the platform. He would go on to restore roughly 62,000 accounts, according to the American tech newsletter, Platformer.

Even the recent reinstation of the suspended accounts of some journalists followed the outcome of a Twitter poll.

Now with many of his erstwhile supporters against his leadership at Twitter, Musk faces a major test of his integrity. Will he be willing to put his overpriced toy into the hands of someone else in the meantime or negate his ideals by staying as Twitter’s owner? Time, they say, will tell.

But on the flip side, Musk appears open to stepping down as CEO and doesn’t mind getting Twitter another boss. “The question is not finding a CEO, the question is finding a CEO who can keep Twitter alive,” he wrote in response to a tweep who offered himself for the coveted role.

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