In October, Elon Musk bought Twitter for around $44 billion. Since then, the online network has been in chaos. Now Musk himself wants to step down as boss – under a condition that is not easy to fulfill.
Elon Musk wants to resign as Twitter boss – but only after a successor has been found. This was announced by the owner of the short message service on Tuesday (local time) in his online network. If he finds someone who is “foolish enough”, he will only lead the software and server teams himself. Twitter users had previously voted in favor of Musk’s resignation in a poll initiated by Musk. However, there is currently little indication that Musk will quickly find a suitable candidate for the top job. Either way, he should retain great influence as the owner.
Musk had already warned before the vote that there were no interested parties who were able to “actually keep Twitter alive”. He himself had taken over the top position in the course of his approximately 44 billion dollar purchase of the Internet platform in October. However, the 51-year-old had repeatedly signaled that this should not be a permanent solution. Musk said last month that he expects to reduce his working hours at Twitter and hand over the leadership there over time.
Elon Musk causes chaos and controversy on Twitter
The tech billionaire also runs other companies such as electric car maker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX. Musk’s commitment and the ongoing turbulence on Twitter are causing dissatisfaction among their investors and fears that he is neglecting his other companies and damaging their reputation. Some of Tesla’s key shareholders have publicly complained that Musk’s focus is too much on Twitter and that he is currently absent as the automaker’s CEO. Tesla is under pressure anyway, the stock has fallen by around 50 percent in three months.
Musk’s almost two months as “Head of Twitter” have been characterized by chaos and controversy. After a series of highly controversial decisions, the headwind for the star entrepreneur has recently become ever stronger. The Twitter poll he initiated himself on Sunday turned out to be quite clear: 57.5 percent of 17.5 million votes were for the resignation. Musk had previously assured that he would stick to the result of the vote. According to US media reports, he was looking for a new boss before the vote – but so far without success.
In the past week, the situation on Twitter had continued to escalate. Despite his repeatedly emphasized commitment to freedom of speech, Musk initially blocked an automated account for tracking his private jet and later temporarily also blocked the user accounts of some US journalists. His plan to no longer allow users to advertise their presence on certain competing platforms, including Facebook, Instagram or Mastodon, caused further anger. Musk promised in another tweet on Monday night that he would also put major changes to the guidelines to the vote in the future.
Musk critics fear further brutalization of Twitter
The vote on his resignation as head of Twitter is not the first poll that Musk has conducted on the Internet platform. Last year, for example, Musk committed a Twitter vote to selling a tenth of his Tesla shares. In November, he had a vote on whether former US President Donald Trump could work on the short message service again. Yes, he can, was the answer with a narrow majority, whereupon Twitter unblocked the account again. Trump had been banned from Twitter in the wake of expressions of sympathy for supporters who stormed the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021.
Musk’s Twitter purchase raised suspicions from the start. The second richest person in the world justified the takeover as an action to strengthen freedom of speech. However, critics feared that the internet platform would be further brutalized and that the change of ownership could lead to more unbridled hate speech, hate speech and disinformation. Musk failed to address those concerns. On the contrary: With a wave of layoffs, erratic rule changes and other controversial decisions, he shook the most important source of income.