The post Twitter Users Vote for Elon Musk to Step Down, He Pledges to “Abide by the Results” appeared first on Consequence.
After 53 days, countless firings, a total collapse of his free speech posture, and some very weird lies about doxxing and “assassination coordinates,” Elon Musk might be poised to step down as head of Twitter.
Musk had always said that he expects to find a new CEO “over time,” but the timeline may have been accelerated starting Sunday, December 18th, when he put up a 12-hour Twitter poll asking, “Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.” In a decisive result, 57.5% to 42.5%, Twitter users voted “Yes,” he should abdicate the role.
“Be careful what you wish,” Musk warned as the results of his poll came in. “You might get it.” In response to a comment suggesting a replacement CEO had already been selected, Musk added, “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.” As of this writing, he has not tweeted since poll was finalized.
The decision came after one of the rockiest weeks in Musk’s oft-craggy reign. On December 14th, he tweeted that a “crazy stalker” had accosted a car “thinking it was me” while it carried his son, X. He used this as justification to change Twitter’s Terms of Service so that, as he put it, “Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation.”
The wording of the update seemed confusingly vague — are White House Pool reporters doxxing the President if they report his location? — and Musk followed the change by suspending the account of @ElonJet, which used publicly available flight data to post when Musk’s private jet left or landed at an airport.
The move sparked a vigorous debate on the definition of “doxxing,” since all the information was public, and followers of @ElonJet would only know that he had landed at, for instance, LAX, but not at which gate or terminal. Musk followed that on December 15th by suspending the accounts of at least eight journalists who worked at outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN, all without warning.
Later that evening, Musk explained, “They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service,” though this was a lie. None of the suspended journalists had done anything more than report on the @ElonJet banning. All of the journalists had their accounts restored after two more Twitter polls, both asking if the suspensions should be lifted immediately (the answer both times was yes).
Then on Sunday, the Washington Post reported that Musk’s so-called “crazy stalker” had actually been targeting his ex-partner, Grimes. The incident in the car happened 23 hours after the last @ElonJet post, and police said they are unable to find a connection between the man harassing Grimes and the @ElonJet account. When Musk wrote that the “crazy stalker” approached the car “thinking it was me,” he had lied.
Also on December 18th, Twitter abruptly announced that it would suspend users for linking to rival social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Post, and Nostr. Twitter also blocked links to Mastodon, a micro-blogging platform with functionality similar to Twitter which has seen an explosion in new users since Musk took over. Notably absent from the rival social media list was TikTok. A social media juggernaut, TikTok is supported by the Chinese government, and Musk’s electric vehicle company Tesla is heavily levered to the Chinese market. Today, December 19th, Musk walked back the social media policy, saying it would only apply to spam accounts.
But issues surrounding Tesla aren’t going away. The stock for the company is down more than 50% since Musk made the offer for Twitter. Because of that, Musk’s personal fortune has lost $100 billion, and he is no longer the world’s richest man. Many Tesla investors seem anxious for Musk to step away from Twitter. Via the New York Times: “Attention focused on Twitter instead of golden child Tesla has been another big issue for investors and likely is behind this poll result with many Musk loyalists wanting him to leave as CEO of Twitter,” wrote analysts Daniel Ives and John Katsingris at Wedbush Securities.
Even if he finds a new CEO, this won’t be the end of Musk’s Twitter headache; Bloomberg reports that Twitter owes more in yearly interest payments than it made in all of 2021. Besides that, his brain chip company Neuralink is facing animal cruelty charges after reports suggested that 15 of the 23 monkeys in a Neuralink test died.
Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 18, 2022