February 6, 2023

Elon Musk asked Twitter users on Sunday whether he should step down as head of the social media site. More than 17 million votes cast a clear verdict: 57.5 percent said he should resign, in a Twitter “poll” that closed after 12 hours on Monday.

Mr. Musk has said He will abide by the results of the vote. Musk did not immediately respond on Twitter after the vote.

If he follows through, Mr. Musk will hand over control of the company he bought for $44 billion in late October. The tumultuous weeks since have seen mass layoffs, a drop in ad sales, executive resignations, and the suspension of various high-profile user accounts for violating the newly enacted policies.

On Sunday, Twitter announced a policy to prevent users from sharing links and usernames from other social platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Mastodon, then apparently axed the same policy.

But for some users, including former supporters of Mr. Musk, the chaotic weekend was a turning point.

On Sunday, Paul Graham, founder of startup accelerator Y Combinator, tweeted that Mr. Musk’s latest action on Twitter was “the final straw.” Mr. Graham had backed Mr. Musk’s takeover, but on Sunday he wrote: “I give up. You can find a link to my new Mastodon profile on my website.” His account was briefly suspended.

Last week, Twitter suspended about two dozen accounts that tracked the location of private jets, including one that tracked Mr. Musk’s private jet, and justified the decision by passing a new policy that prohibits sharing other people’s “real-time information” location” account. The accounts of some journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and others were also suspended last week, seemingly under the same policy, and then reinstated after Mr. Musk asked users whether they should be allowed to come back. 59% of people answered yes in a Twitter “poll” with 3.7 million votes.

After asking users if he should stay on as Twitter CEO, Mr. Musk said in another tweet: “No one wants the job that will really keep Twitter alive. No successor.”

There are signs that Mr. Musk’s Twitter ownership and focus is interfering with his other business ventures. Tesla’s market value has fallen since Mr. Musk bought Twitter. On Oct. 27, when Mr. Musk completed his acquisition of Twitter, the car company’s shares were trading at $225. Shares of Tesla closed at $150 on Friday.

Last week, Mr. Musk revealed that he had sold another $3.6 billion worth of Tesla stock. Mr. Musk has sold $23 billion worth of Tesla stock this year, most of it after he pledged in April to stop selling stock to fund his Twitter deal.

“Focus on Twitter rather than golden boy Tesla has been another big concern for investors, which may be the result of this poll,” analysts Daniel Ives and John Katsingris at Wedbush Securities wrote in a note. The reason behind this is that many of Musk’s loyal fans want him to leave the CEO position of Twitter,” the note posted shortly before Twitter’s vote closed.

They added that Musk’s resignation from Twitter would be a “significant step forward,” with the billionaire finally realizing that “people are getting more and more frustrated with this Twitter nightmare, and it’s getting worse every day. “

Shares of Tesla rose 3.4% to around $155 in premarket trading on Monday.

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