Twitter users vote for Musk to quit as chief executive

Social network’s new content policies draw criticism from detractors and Silicon Valley heavyweights

Twitter users have voted for Elon Musk to step down as the social network’s chief executive, adding to turmoil around the future of the San Francisco-based company.

The billionaire entrepreneur, who bought Twitter for $44 billion in October, launched a poll via the platform on Sunday asking whether he should remain at the helm, adding: “I will abide by the results of this poll.”

According to the final results of the poll, which closed on Monday morning, 57.5 per cent of the 17.5 million users who responded voted in favour of Musk stepping down.

It is unclear who Musk will select as his replacement or if he will honour the poll. Musk on Sunday said in a tweet: “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.”


The company’s owner has previously signalled he would eventually give up the chief position. He told a Delaware judge last month that he planned to “reduce my time at Twitter and find somebody else to run Twitter over time”.

Musk launched the poll shortly after attending the World Cup football final between Argentina and France in Qatar on Sunday, where he was photographed with Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

As owner, Musk remains on the hook for $1 billion in annual interest payments after loading the company with $13 billion of debt to help fund his acquisition of the business. He has been wrestling to bring the platform’s finances under control, warning last month that a Twitter bankruptcy is a possibility.

Last week, Jared Birchall, head of Musk’s family office, approached investors who had helped the billionaire buy Twitter to try to raise new funds, according to people familiar with the matter. Birchall offered new shares in the company at $54.20 – the same price Musk paid to take the company private.

Musk has faced growing scrutiny for his management of the platform after firing about half of its workforce and introducing cost-cutting measures and controversial policy changes.

Brands and marketers in particular have fled the platform over concerns about his content moderation strategy, threatening its $5 billion-a-year business, the majority of which comes from advertising.

In the latest contentious incident, Musk announced a new policy on Sunday banning users from sharing links to their accounts on rival platforms, including Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and Instagram, and emerging Twitter rival Mastodon.

The move prompted a backlash from his critics and even from some of his high-profile Silicon Valley supporters for being too restrictive. Hours later, Twitter deleted a statement outlining the policy from its website. Musk wrote on Twitter: “Going forward, there will be a vote for major policy changes. My apologies. Won’t happen again.” – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2022