Twitter madness may end as Musk says he will abide by poll telling him to resign as CEO

The Twitter madness continued over the weekend, as Elon Musk first banned users from linking to their profiles on other social media sites, then apologized for doing so after a deluge of objections. Twitter Support tweets announcing the policy were deleted.

Flying drone with camera

Musk subsequently said that major policy decisions would be decided by Twitter polls (I promise I’m not making this up), and then posted a poll on whether he should step down as CEO, promising to abide by the result …

Sunday’s Twitter madness

On Sunday, free speech absolutist Elon Musk banned Twitter users from posting links to their profiles on other social media sites, like Instagram and Mastodon.

The company specifies the prohibited platforms are “Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Post and Nostr.” 

It is also banning links to social media profile aggregators like linktr.ee. These are services that offer a unified page of many social media accounts […] Tweets referencing these platforms are also now banned, even if they don’t contain an actual link. For instance, posting “follow me @bzamayo on Mastodon” on Twitter is no longer allowed.

Mastodon didn’t miss the opportunity to ridicule Musk for the policy.

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Others pointed out that this would breach upcoming European antitrust rules, leaving the company at risk of a fine of up to 20% of annual revenues. Musk said that he was “adjusting” the policy.

Policy will be adjusted to suspending accounts only when that account’s *primary* purpose is promotion of competitors, which essentially falls under the no spam rule

Twitter also appeared to have reinstated the suspended accounts of a number of high-profile journalists. However, another high-profile Twitter user broke the rule on “doxxing” live locations by live-tweeting the location of Twitter owner Elon Musk, leading him to fear assassination.

Musk asks users if he should resign; they say yes

Musk then apologized for the policy, which lasted less than a day, and announced that future major policy decisions would be made by a Twitter poll.

Software engineer Brianna Wu issued a challenge to Musk:

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To his credit, Musk did so:

The final tally was 57.5% in favor, 42.5% against.

9to5Mac’s Take

We know that Musk’s promises don’t necessarily mean much, and that his pronouncements can remain valid for as little as a few hours.

All the same, it’s hard to imagine that even Musk can want the chaos to continue indefinitely. In particular, the value of Tesla has halved over the past few months. Investors are understandably unhappy about this, arguing that while broader macroeconomic factors have of course played a role, there are also three Musk-specific factors:

  • Musk has been forced to sell billions of dollars’ worth of his own stock.
  • The Twitter fiasco has distracted Musk from issues with Tesla.
  • Musk’s credibility has been badly damaged.

You can read more about all of this over on our sister site Electrek.

At this point, Musk is likely looking for a face-saving(ish) exit from Twitter, and the decisive result of the poll provides the necessary cover.

Of course, this does raise the question of who would be willing to take on this role under Musk’s ownership, and how long they may last before being fired.

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