- Elon Musk announced that he would step down as the CEO of Twitter.
- Musk had polled his followers on whether he should give up leadership. 57.5% voted “yes.”
- His two months at the helm of the site have been characterized by chaos and contradictions.
Elon Musk announced Tuesday that he would step down as CEO of Twitter once he found someone ‘foolish’ enough to take over his role.
“I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!” Musk wrote on Twitter. “After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.”
—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 21, 2022
On Sunday, Musk ran a poll asking his followers whether or not he should step down as CEO of the social platform, which he acquired for $44 billion.
“Should I step down as head of Twitter?,” Musk tweeted on Sunday afternoon. “I will abide by the results of this poll.” More than 17.5 million people voted in the poll, with 57.5% voting in favor of him stepping down.
Musk followed up the poll with tweets saying “As the saying goes, be careful what you wish, as you might get it,” and, “Those who want power are the ones who least deserve it.”
Musk’s Tuesday announcement he’s going to resign as Twitter’s CEO came after CNBC first reported he was looking for someone to replace him as the head of the social media company. The search was already ongoing before Musk’s poll on whether he would step down, CNBC reported, citing unnamed sources.
Musk’s reign at the helm of the social-media platform has been characterized by chaos and contradictions, with thousands of staff members resigning, being fired, or being laid off. Advertisers have flocked from the site over concerns about content moderation, and Musk has seemingly introduced new policies on a whim, some of which he later U-turned.
Since taking ownership of the platform in late October, Musk has polled his users on various issues around the running of Twitter, such as reinstating the account of former president Donald Trump and bringing back video-sharing app Vine. Musk has used the mantra “vox populi, vox dei,” which translates from Latin as “voice of the people, voice of God.”
Critics used this phrase to mock him and accuse him of hypocrisy after he didn’t follow through on the results of a poll in which Twitter users voted in favor of him unsuspending accounts “who doxxed my exact location in real-time.” Accounts including @ElonJet, which published publicly-available information on the whereabouts of Musk’s private jet, and the personal account of its owner Jack Sweeney, remain suspended from the site.
Lawsuits, advertising boycotts, and a rise in hate speech
Musk, who had no previous experience in running a social-media platform, had a dramatic two months leading Twitter. He has fired staff, including former CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and employees who criticized him on Twitter and on Slack, and laid off thousands of other workers in drastic cost-cutting measures.
Musk also issued an ultimatum to staff, telling them they needed to be “extremely hardcore” and work “long hours at high intensity” to stay on at the company. Around half of Twitter’s remaining workforce didn’t commit to Musk’s vision for Twitter 2.0, a person familiar with its processes told Insider’s Kali Hays.
Some former Twitter workers have filed lawsuits against the company, accusing it of failing to give them the severance packages they were promised and of laying off an unfair share of women workers.
Musk has repeatedly vowed to promote free speech on the platform. But he has also disbanded Twitter’s Truth and Safety Council, which worked to prevent harassment on the site, and reinstated some blocked accounts. Some users and activist groups say there has been a rise in hate speech on the platform since Musk took over.
Amid these concerns over content-moderation, some of Twitter’s top advertisers have pulled ads from the platform. Given that Twitter historically gets around 90% of its revenue from ads, this could put more pressure on Musk’s revamped Twitter Blue subscription service, which charges users $8 a month to get a blue check next to their name and gives them access to more features on the site. The Blue program is one of Musk’s strategy to monetize the platform — which he said was losing $4 million a day.