He ran a poll for the fate of his job (until he didn’t). He walked back several newly announced policies after receiving backlash. What’s really going on with Elon Musk and the bird app?
Well, kind of?
For some odd reason, Musk posted a Twitter poll on Dec. 18 asking users to vote as to whether or not he should step down from his latest high-profile position. After more than 17.5 million votes, a significant majority maintained that he should.
Musk went on to say that he’ll officially resign as CEO of Twitter once he finds “someone foolish enough to take the job.”
We aren’t sure how real this is yet, but if Twitter does get a new CEO, what should be the immediate focus given all the controversy, unforced errors, and overall confusion that have marked the SpaceX and Tesla boss’s brief tenure? We have a couple of ideas:
- Hire back employees, especially to fulfill essential roles regarding moderation and product.
- Reinstate oversight teams, including a board of directors.
- Maybe buy new furniture and convert the company’s HQ back to an office instead of some sort of bizarre corporate motel?
- Get Musk out of the big chair at all costs.
CNBC reported on Dec. 20 that Musk is actually opening the search for a new CEO, which comes as a surprise since he immediately accused bots of jeopardizing the unscientific-but-still-notable poll. Aside from a few other tweets on the matter in recent days, Musk hasn’t gone on one of his classic rants since the poll closed and the final results were revealed.
“The question is not finding a CEO, the question is finding a CEO who can keep Twitter alive,” the divisive entrepreneur tweeted.
Musk said during a court proceeding in November that he doesn’t intend to stay as Twitter’s CEO for long, so the search for the platform’s new leader may have already been underway even then. However, Musk replied to a tweet pushing the CNBC report with a few laughing emojis, so it’s unclear whether that’s materially true.
How did Twitter get here?
This is a bit of a loaded question, but as far as recent actions are concerned, Musk was prompted to launch the poll allegedly meant to decide his job status after attempting to implement some new, hard rules on the platform over the weekend. He quickly switched gears a day after announcing that Twitter would suspend accounts that linked to rival social media sites or otherwise prevent tweets from being posted that included the same.
The strict policy received major backlash from the platform’s community; Musk later backtracked and purged all tweets and related web pages relating to these measures as originally announced. If he had kept this clearly egregious policy in place — after all, the man consistently claims to value free speech above basically all else — it would have restricted users from promoting handles and links from Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Nostr, and Post under any circumstance.
For now, the prolific tech exec said such promotion is allowed as long as that’s not the primary thing a particular account is doing.
Musk also promised to hold votes via polls for future policy changes. Typically, a board of directors might help inform these big decisions, but Musk quickly dissolved Twitter’s board in October after acquiring the company for $44 billion. Instead, he said Twitter Blue subscribers will get to vote exclusively on the platform’s policy polls.
Whether this declaration actually goes into effect as policy is unclear, but suffice to say that it has drawn predictable ire from all manner of directions on the grounds that it makes it easier for Musk to place Twitter’s governance within a self-affirming echo chamber disproportionately populated by his most enthusiastic supporters and fervent defenders.
More Twitter news
Twitter always feels like it’s up in flames as far as users are concerned. Here are some more updates happening with the popular social media platform:
- Remember when tweets showed a grey tag that said “Twitter for iPhone” or “Twitter for Android?” The platform removed the ability to see which device a tweet comes from.
- After getting caught in a virtual hot seat, Musk temporarily suspended the Twitter Spaces live audio feature. As of this writing, it is back up and running again.
- A slew of journalists critical of Musk have seen their accounts suspended. Among the most recent high-profile examples is Washington Post tech columnist Taylor Lorenz, who lost her profile only to see it later restored. Apparently, her account was suspended after promoting other platforms.
Stay tuned for another episode of As the Twitter World Turns. There are no off-days as far as this social media soap opera is concerned.
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