Elon Musk is always good for a surprise. First, the multi-billionaire buys the short message service Twitter, triggering concerns around the world. Then he makes himself available.

Entrepreneur Elon Musk is about to resign as head of the short message service Twitter, but as the majority owner he will continue to have an influence on the world’s most important short message service. In a Twitter poll initiated by the 51-year-old himself, the majority were in favor of this step today.

Of the 17.5 million votes cast, 57.5 percent were in favor of resigning and 42.5 percent were against. Musk had previously assured that he would stick to the result of the vote.

The 51-year-old Tesla boss joined forces with other investors to take over the short message service in October for 44 billion US dollars and laid off a large part of the workforce in order to reduce the loss-making company’s costs.

International concern for democratic opinion-forming

There were concerns in parts of politics and civil society that the multi-billionaire could use the world’s most important short message service according to his own taste and negatively influence democratic opinion-forming, for example by hardly allowing any action to be taken against false information. Other actions by the controversial entrepreneur also caused sharp criticism. He recently blocked several US journalists’ Twitter accounts, but later unblocked them.

It’s not the first poll Musk has had on Twitter. Last year, for example, Musk committed a Twitter vote to selling a tenth of his Tesla shares. In November, he voted 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.

His plan to no longer allow Twitter users to advertise their presence on certain competing platforms – including Facebook, Instagram or Mastodon – caused resentment. Musk promised in another tweet on Monday night that major changes to the platform’s guidelines would also be put to the vote in the future. “My apologies. Won’t happen again.”

Musk has always presented himself as a champion of freedom of speech. He finally propagated conspiracy theories on Twitter and used the platform to promote the US Republicans in his tweets. The online service has developed into an important communication platform in recent years. Governments, authorities and politicians all over the world use Twitter for their public relations work.

Musk is no longer the richest man in the world

Musk is also in charge at Tesla. With the sale of shares in the electric car manufacturer, the entrepreneur managed the Twitter takeover. The car company recently lost significantly in value on the stock exchange. Three months ago, the shares were worth about twice as much as they are now. As a result, Musk’s fortune also shrank and he is no longer considered the richest person in the world. In the “Bloomberg Billionaires” and “Forbes” rankings, he recently ranked second behind the French entrepreneur Bernard Arnault from the luxury goods group LVMH.

Criticism of Musk came from Tesla investors – they called on him to devote more time to Tesla and keep the carmaker on track. Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susanna Streeter said Monday that Musk’s stepping down as Twitter CEO could temporarily boost Tesla shares with a “shot of optimism” on the back of hopes that Musk will finally give the carmaker some attention, he needs at a time of adversity like falling demand in China.