The man who officially bought the platform for $44 billion in October, tweeted Tuesday that he’ll be honoring a Twitter poll he posed on Sunday, Dec. 18 where he asked the Twitterverse: “Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.” But there’s a caveat.
“I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!” Musk said. “After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.”
The news followed Monday morning’s final poll results: With more than 17.5 million votes cast, 57.5 percent of voters had weighed in with a “Yes,” he should resign as Twitter CEO.
As Rolling Stone recently reported, Twitter’s polls are magnets for bots and other inauthentic accounts. They’re designed to be spammed and gamed. But Musk has frequently followed the results of the polls when they indicated support to reinstate suspended accounts, including that of Donald Trump.
The announcement that he “will resign” comes as his disastrous Twitter reign has affected his leadership of Tesla. The stocks for the car company have plummeted to $137.80 per stock from nearly $195 in late November.
His latest Twitter poll seemed spurred on by some erratic decisions leading up to his demise. The week prior, the self-proclaimed “free speech” purveyor purged several prominent journalists from Twitter, citing they had “doxxed” his location (they had not). He later reinstated them following another Twitter poll he conducted that resulted in the majority voting to release them from Twitter jail.
On Sunday — the same day Musk asked if he should step down — he issued a new Twitter policy, which banned users from sharing any links to Mastodon, Facebook, Instagram, Truth Social, Tribel, Post and Nostr, along with aggregating platforms like linktr.ee and lnk.bio. He then apparently reversed that decision by Monday.
Musk exits as CEO the same way he came in: under rocky circumstances.
Prior to his taking over in October, he brought a sink to HQ, then he fired some top executives, and made plans to layoff more staff. He also tweeted his controversial changes to Twitter Blue, including the addition of verification for any and all users who pay; it was a disaster steeped in misinformation and parody accounts that was paused within days.
It relaunched its paid verification plan in mid-December, where those who pay $8.00 a month ($11 a month for iOS) will get certain subscription perks “after your account has been reviewed,” to ostensibly sidestep the program’s initial problems.
Musk leaves a slew of unresolved issues in his former-CEO wake, from a mass exodus — including a growing list of celebrities who have exited — and his decision to allow previously suspended accounts back on to the platform, wooing people back will likely be an uphill battle. Plus, the company’s revenue is down.
Toward the end of November, as a Media Matters report found, 50 of the Top 100 advertisers on Twitter had “announced or seemingly stopped advertising on Twitter,” a loss of more than $750 million in advertising in 2022 alone.