Owner and CEO of Twitter Elon Musk has tweeted for the first time since more than 10 million people voted in favour of him stepping down as Twitter’s chief executive. The billionaire on Sunday launched a Twitter poll asking if he should step down as chief executive – 57.% of users voted “yes”. Normally a prolific user of the platform, Musk did not tweet in the immediate hours after the poll. His silence was finally broken when he responded with “interesting” to multiple suggestions that the results of the poll were skewed by fake accounts. According to Musk only paid Twitter Blue subscribers will be able to vote in future policy-related polls.
Replying to a tweet saying Twitter Blue subscribers “should be the only ones that can vote in policy related polls”, Musk said: Good point. Twitter will make that change.
Twitter's paid-for verification feature was rolled out for a second time last week after its launch was paused. The service costs $8 per month, or $11 for people using the Twitter app on Apple devices, and gives subscribers a "blue tick".
Previously a blue tick was used as verification tool for high-profile accounts as a badge of authenticity and was free.
The billionaire had said when he ran the poll that he would abide by the result. If he does quit as chief executive, he will remain as Twitter’s owner.
Musk has fully owned Twitter since October 27 and has repeatedly courted controversy as CEO, letting off half of its staff, readmitting far-right figures to the platform, suspending journalists and trying to charge for previously free services.
Analysts have also noted that the stock price of Tesla has slumped by one-third since Musk’s Twitter takeover. The share price briefly rallied by 3.3 percent on Monday before fading.
“It’s hard to ignore the numbers since [the Twitter] deal closed,” tweeted investment expert Gary Black, saying he reckoned Tesla’s board was putting pressure on Musk to quit his Twitter role.
In talks with users after posting his latest poll, Musk renewed his warnings that the platform could be heading for bankruptcy.
While the poll was running on Monday he replied to one user suggesting there was no replacement chief executive lined up, saying “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.”
Musk has a history of using Twitter polls to rubber-stamp major decisions, selling a tenth of his Tesla holdings after one poll in 2021, restoring Donald Trump’s account after a second last month and reinstating a number of suspended accounts after a third. “Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted after the Trump poll.
However, in many cases, he has given the impression of already having decided on the outcome before posting: he had already made public a sale of his Tesla holdings, for instance, long before he put it to a vote, and his plan to reinstate Trump had been discussed since before he even bought Twitter.
The idea of stepping down as chief executive had also been hinted at long before the Twitter poll was published. On 16 November, he informed a Delaware judge that he planned to reduce his time at Twitter and “find somebody else to run Twitter over time”.