Elon Musk Stakes His Leadership On A Twitter Poll

Elon Musk apologized and launched a poll asking whether he should step down as head of Twitter on Sunday night after the company launched a new policy that would suspend accounts linking to certain other platforms, a move that ignited massive backlash from individuals including some of Musk’s own supporters, The Washington Post reported.

According to The Washington Post, Musk apologized after putting the policy in place and wrote: “Going forward, there will be a vote for major policy changes. My apologies. Won’t happen again.”

He then launched a Twitter poll, surveying users on whether he should step down. Musk had abided by past polls, despite them being unscientific and unrepresentative.

“Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll,” he wrote. He added shortly after: “As the saying goes, be careful what you wish, as you might get it.”

The Washington Post reported that respondents leaned heavily toward “Yes” in Musk’s poll, indicating that Musk should step down, after nearly an hour of voting: 58% of more than 3 million votes were in favor of him handing over the reins. The poll was set to expire Monday morning before the opening of the stock market. The value of Tesla’s stock – the source of much of Musk’s net worth – had recently plunged.

The Verge reported that even before Musk owned the company, there were reports that he planned to operate as Twitter’s CEO only temporarily, and just one month ago, he said under oath that he planned to find someone else to run the company.

According to The Verge, Mr. Musk claimed in follow-up tweets the company “has been in the fast lane to bankruptcy since May” (not the first time he’s used bankruptcy in reference to Twitter. He mentioned it in a company meeting last month). Mr. Musk also said, “The question is not finding a CEO, the question is finding a CEO who can keep Twitter alive.”

Engadget reported that it’s worth noting Musk has already said he plans to hand over the day-to-day operations of Twitter to someone else. In fact, he made that commitment under oath. “I frankly don’t want to be the CEO of any company,” he told a court last month.

According to Engadget, a public vote won’t change that, but it might bruise his ego. What’s more, unsaid in Musk’s tweet is the fact that he faces intense pressure from Tesla investors to return his focus to the automaker. Since Musk’s takeover of Twitter at the end of October, the value of Tesla’s stock has fallen precipitously. In December alone it fell 22 percent.

Things clearly haven’t been going well on Twitter for Mr. Musk. He hasn’t been there for very long, and everything he touches seems to work out poorly for him. I can see why he might be frustrated being CEO of Twitter, considering he doesn’t seem to know what he is doing. There’s no way to know who will take his place, or how many problems Mr. Musk can create in the meantime.