Elon Musk’s Twitter poll to decide whether Tesla mogul remains Twitter CEO


SAN FRANCISCO — The future of Twitter under Elon Musk is at stake Monday morning as a poll is set to determine whether the tech mogul will Remain CEO of the social media site he bought for $44 billion.

Late Sunday, Musk launched a Twitter poll asking his 122 million followers, “Should I step down as Twitter boss?” He said he would act on the results, later adding, “As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for, as you may get it.”

The billionaire and self-proclaimed “Chief Twit” bought the company for $44 billion in October and made himself CEO. It’s since become a frequent topic of his tweets, and employees said he’s a regular presence at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.

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But that has raised concerns among investors — Tesla in particular — that the entrepreneur is too thinly saturated. Some have questioned his effectiveness as CEO of two major tech companies, wondering whether he can effectively fill both roles alongside heading rocket company SpaceX.

Adding fuel to the fire, Musk is known for conducting polls to confirm decisions he’s already made, perhaps most famously when he asked Twitter if he should sell 10 percent of his stake in Tesla. Subsequent filings showed that Musk had already accepted a trading plan, at least partially throwing the poll into question.

Musk and Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday night.

Musk has made a number of changes to Twitter, where he said a top priority is to fix the company’s code. He fired about half of the company’s 7,500 employees, issuing an ultimatum mandate a hardcore culture that caused hundreds more to leave the company and changed Twitter’s rules on the fly, relying on polls — including reinstating former President Donald Trump.

It’s not immediately clear how much would change if Musk steps down as CEO, considering he would continue to own the company along with his co-investors.

Musk had previously signaled that he had no plans to run Twitter long-term. He testified in a Delaware court last month that he plans to find someone else for Twitter and reduce his time at the company. He took the stand in response to a Tesla shareholder lawsuit arguing that he was overpaid for his work on a 2018 auto company compensation package while dividing his time among several other companies

The unscientific and unrepresentative survey of Musk’s leadership came after a tumultuous week for Musk. Tesla’s stock price fell about 15 percent last week, capping a dismal performance in recent months as some investors urged him to step down from leadership of one of his companies to better focus.

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On Wednesday, Musk abruptly suspended an account tracking his private jet using publicly available data. He followed that up the next day by suspending reporters who appeared to have tweeted about it – accusing them of “basically releasing murder coordinates” for him and his family. Musk launched a poll on Thursday in which users voted to reinstate the suspended ones.

On Sunday, as Musk tweeted about the World Cup final and watched alongside former Trump aide Jared Kushner, Twitter issued new rules barring users from repeatedly promoting competing social media networks on the site, calling for “free advertising” violating the rules . Hordes of users, including some of Musk’s own supporters, dismissed the new policy as draconian, despite Musk’s pledge to restore what he called “free speech” on the site.

Musk’s new policy also banned advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Trump’s co-founded app Truth Social.

Musk offered a rare apology on Sunday after Twitter issued new rules barring users from repeatedly promoting competing social media networks on the site and said he will put future policy decisions to a vote.

Later that night, @TwitterSafety tweeted a poll asking, “Should we have a policy preventing the creation or use of existing accounts for the primary purpose of promoting other social media platforms?”

The tweets and the page with the new guidelines for banning content from external networks also appeared to have been deleted.

Musk’s poll of his leadership was due to expire early Monday morning before trading opens on Wall Street, where Tesla has lost half of its more than $1 trillion valuation since the spring.

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“Those who want power are those who least deserve it,” Musk tweeted late Sunday, as millions of users voted and the poll leaned toward his resignation.

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