Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, announced Tuesday night that he would step down as the company’s CEO, but only after he names a successor. This was the first time he had directly addressed a Twitter poll he had created this week in which millions of users had voted for his resignation.
Musk declared in a tweet that he would step down “as soon as I find someone stupid enough to take the job”!
Musk also stated that he would “run the software & servers teams” at Twitter after stepping down as CEO, implying that he may continue to have a significant impact on the organization’s decision-making.
After the poll’s results were announced, there was more than a day of silence before the announcement. After more than 17 million users had cast their votes on Monday, 57.5% of whom said Musk should step down, the billionaire executive only made a passing reference to the results. He suggested that future Twitter polls might only be accessible to Twitter Blue subscribers who have paid for their subscriptions.
Musk’s user poll asking people if he should step down as CEO following a significant backlash to Twitter’s abrupt suspension of several journalists who covered him, as well as Twitter’s decision to ban, and then un-ban, links to other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Mastodon, a rapidly expanding Twitter rival that has quadrupled in size since October.
One of the most significant social media companies in the world has undergone broad, occasionally erratic changes as a result of Musk’s brief time serving as CEO.
Under his direction, Twitter has fired the majority of its employees, alienated significant advertisers, welcomed former President Donald Trump back to the service after his suspension following the Capitol riots on January 6, and made internal communications about Twitter’s operations available to journalists prior to Musk’s acquisition of the company.
Musk stopped enforcing Twitter’s policy against Covid-19 misinformation and made the remaining employees sign a pledge to work “extremely hard.”
A paid verification feature that Twitter introduced over a short period of time was quickly abused by satirical accounts pretending to be verified by major brands, athletes, and other public figures on the platform. As a result, Twitter was forced to withdraw the feature.
Because of his propensity to base significant product changes on nothing more than unofficial Twitter polls, Musk’s impromptu and ad hoc management style have come to light. But a growing number of Twitter users are criticizing that strategy. Twitter suspended a number of journalists last week for their coverage of Musk’s decision to permanently block an account that tracked his jet.
The poll conducted on Sunday, which served as an effective, if unscientific, referendum on Musk’s management of the company since he completed his purchase of Twitter in late October, was the culmination of growing criticism of Musk.