Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of Twitter and Tesla, polled his 120 million followers on Sunday asking if he should step down as head of the company, and a majority of the 17 million respondents said yes. Musk said he would honor the results of the poll.
Shortly after releasing the poll, Twitter deleted a controversial new policy less than 24 hours after it was introduced, that said Twitter would ban users from linking to certain competing social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social Tribel, Post, and Nostr.
That policy also forbade users from working around the rule by writing “instagram dot com/username” to avoid creating an actual link.
Massive backlash ensued.
Now sources tell CNBC’s David Faber that Musk is searching for a new CEO to replace him. CNBC reported that Musk has been looking for a new CEO since before the Twitter poll went out.
Musk completed the deal on Oct. 27 to buy Twitter for $44 billion and promised to restore free speech to the platform, almost immediately setting off waves of chaos.
Since Musk took over, Twitter has seen massive layoffs, increased racist hate speech, advertisers cutting their budgets or leaving the platform, and previously banned accounts reinstated.
“My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk,” Musk tweeted on Nov. 6, referring to @ElonJet, the Twitter account tracking his flights on his private jet. The site was based on publicly available FAA flight tracking data.
Then Musk changed his mind citing safety concerns after “a crazy stalker” climbed on the hood of a car one of his children was riding in. On Dec. 14, Musk banned both the @ElonJet Twitter account and Jack Sweeney, the University of Central Florida student who created it and published Musk’s flight information on social media.
The ElonJet account is still accessible on other platforms.
On Dec. 15, journalists from media outlets including The New York Times, CNN, NBC, and The Intercept, had their accounts suspended for tweeting about @ElonJet. Some of their Twitter accounts have since been reinstated.
However, more suspensions have occurred since then, suggesting that the policy is still in place, and underscoring the chaos that now reigns at Twitter under Musk’s leadership.
On Dec. 18, Paul Graham, co-founder of startup accelerator Y Combinator and considered “Silicon Valley royalty,” had his Twitter account suspended. Graham had been supportive of Musk’s efforts at Twitter. The suspension came after Graham tweeted, “This is the last straw. I give up. You can find a link to my new Mastodon profile on my site.”
Mastodon is considered a Twitter alternative for users tired of Musk’s chaos and could be deemed an example of a workaround, Fortune reported.
Howard Lerman, a cofounder of several tech startups, expressed surprise, tweeting, “Paul Graham (formerly @paulg) defines literally every attribute one could hope for on a social network: Profound, civil, thoughtful, honest, direct, polite, active, responsive to all, inclusive.”
Images: Elon Musk attends the opening of the Tesla factory Berlin, March 22, 2022. (Patrick Pleul/Pool via AP, File) / Symbol of chaos: Fibonacci, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fibonacci https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/en:Creative_Commons