Elon Musk asked Twitter users on Sunday if he should step down as head of the social media site. More than 17 million votes were cast, delivering a clear verdict: 57.5 percent said he should stop, in a Twitter “poll” that closed after 12 hours on Monday.
Mr. Musk said that he sticks to the voting result. After the voting ended, there was no immediate response from Mr. Musk on Twitter.
If he perseveres, Mr. Musk would hand over the reins of the company he bought for $44 billion by the end of October. The turbulent weeks since have seen mass layoffs at the company, falling ad sales, executive resignations, and the suspension of various high-profile user accounts for violating reinvented policies.
On Sunday, Twitter announced a policy to prevent users from sharing links and usernames from other social platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Mastodon, then apparently cut the same policy.
But for some users, including former Mr. Musk supporters, the chaotic weekend was a turning point.
Mr. Musk’s recent actions with Twitter were “the camel’s back,” Paul Graham, one of the founders of start-up accelerator Y Combinator, tweeted on Sunday. Mr. Graham had Mr Musk’s takeover, but on Sunday he wrote: “I give up. You can find a link to my new Mastodon profile on my page.” His account was temporarily suspended.
Last week, Twitter suspended about two dozen accounts that tracked private plane locations, including one that tracked Mr. Musk’s private jet, citing a new policy that banned accounts for sharing someone’s “live location.” The accounts of some journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other outlets were also suspended last week, seemingly under the same policy, and then released again after Mr. Musk asked users if they should be left behind. In a Twitter “poll” of 3.7 million votes, 59 percent answered yes.
After asking users if he should stay on as Twitter’s chief executive, Mr. Musk said in another tweet, “Nobody wants the job that can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.”
There are indications that Mr. Musk’s ownership and focus on Twitter is affecting his other business ventures. Since Mr. Musk took over Twitter, Tesla’s value fell. The automaker’s share price was $225 on October 22. 27, the day Mr. Musk completed the acquisition of Twitter. Tesla stock closed at $150 on Friday.
Last week Mr. Musk announced that he had sold another $3.6 billion worth of Tesla stock. This year Mr. Musk has now sold $23 billion worth of Tesla stock, much of it after pledging in April to stop selling shares to fund his Twitter deal.
“Attracting attention to Twitter rather than golden child Tesla was another major concern for investors and is likely behind this poll result as many Musk loyalists want him to leave as CEO of Twitter,” wrote analysts Daniel Ives and John Katsingris Wedbush Securities released a note shortly before the end of the Twitter poll.
Musk’s departure from Twitter would be “a huge step forward,” they added, as the billionaire finally realizes “there is growing frustration with this Twitter nightmare, which is getting worse by the day.”
On Monday, Tesla shares were up 3.4 percent in premarket trading to about $155.