Published29 minutes ago
Twitter’s owner Elon Musk is asking users of the social media platform to vote on his future as its chief executive.
In a poll to his 122 million followers, he tweeted: “Should I step down as head… I will abide by the results.”
The technology tycoon, who also runs Tesla and Space X, has faced much criticism since taking over Twitter.
After a legal battle, Mr Musk took control of the company in October in a $44bn ($36bn) deal.
At 07:00 GMT on Monday, more than 13 million people had voted in his poll and 57% had said yes to Mr Musk stepping down.
Dan Ives, senior equity analyst at Wedbush Securities, told the BBC he believed the vote would “ultimately” lead to the “ending of Musk’s reign as chief executive of Twitter”.
There has been a flurry of controversial changes at Twitter since Mr Musk bought the social media site in October.
He has fired about half of its staff and attempted a rollout of Twitter’s paid-for verification feature before putting it on pause. The feature was relaunched last week.
He has also been criticised for his approach to content moderation, with some civil liberties groups accusing him of taking steps that will increase hate speech and misinformation.
On Friday, Mr Musk was condemned by the United Nations and European Union over Twitter’s decision to suspend some journalists who cover the social media firm.
Reporters for the New York Times, CNN and the Washington Post were among those locked out of their accounts for allegedly sharing location data. The accounts have since been reinstated.
The UN tweeted that media freedom is “not a toy”, while the EU threatened Twitter with sanctions.
Mr Ives said the last few weeks and months had been a “black eye for Musk and a black eye for Tesla” which he said was the “golden child” because it is where most of the billionaire’s wealth is.
“Twitter right now – it’s a quicksand situation and I think it’s gotten worse since Musk took over Twitter. It’s been a circus show,” he added.
“I think ultimately in the next 24 hours Musk will probably name a new temporary CEO of Twitter.”
Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 18, 2022
Elon Musk’s poll appeared just a short while after he was pictured at the World Cup final standing next to Jared Kushner, son-in-law and ex-special adviser to former US President Donald Trump.
If it was intended to cause shockwaves – and it certainly was – it succeeded.
Following a chaotic week with yet more confusing actions from Twitter – the banning and re-instating of journalists, the announcement of a strange new policy on sharing links to rival social networks – comes the grand finale.
As I write more than 13 million people have voted and 57% say yes, he should step down as Twitter’s chief executive.
One wonders how many of them were Tesla shareholders? Musk’s electric car firm has fallen sharply in value, with some saying his obsession with Twitter is destroying the brand.
In the past Musk has kept his word and obeyed Twitter polls. He’s fond of quoting the phrase “vox populi, vox dei”. It’s a Latin phrase which roughly means “the voice of the people is the voice of God” (the origin of the term vox pop). We’ll find out in just a few hours.
Mr Musk also announced on Twitter that major policy changes would be voted on in the future.
It comes after Twitter said it would shut down accounts solely designed to promote other social media platforms.
The measure would also affect accounts that link off to or contain usernames from platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Nostr and Post, the company said in a tweet, although cross-content posting from other sites will still be allowed.
Former Twitter boss Jack Dorsey, who recently invested in Nostr, replied to the Twitter post with one word: “Why?”
On Saturday, Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz was suspended for breaking the new rule before it had been formally announced.
After being reinstated on Sunday she posted a link to the tweet she claimed got her barred.
Twitter had already blocked users from sharing some links to Mastodon, the platform many Twitter users moved to after Mr Musk’s takeover.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Twitter said: ” “We recognize that many of our users are active on other social media platforms. However, we will no longer allow free promotion of certain social media platforms on Twitter.”
Examples of possible violations could include tweets such as “follow me @username on Instagram” or “check out my profile on Facebook – facebook.com/username”, it said in a blog setting out the details.
Those who break the rules for the first time or as in an “isolated incident” could be asked to delete the offending tweets or be temporarily locked out of their accounts.
But any subsequent offenses “will result in permanent suspension”, it said.
Users can continue to post content to Twitter from prohibited platforms, however, and paid adverts from those sites will still be allowed.
Casually sharing occasional links is fine, but no more relentless advertising of competitors for free, which is absurd in the extreme
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 18, 2022
A few hours after the announcement, Mr Musk appeared to contradict it by tweeting that “casually sharing occasional links is fine, but no more relentless advertising of competitors for free, which is absurd in the extreme”.