Elon Musk has launched a Twitter ballot asking customers if he ought to step down as head of the social media platform and pledged to honour the end result, after a backlash to a brand new coverage banning the promotion of accounts on rival platforms.
The billionaire entrepreneur, who purchased Twitter for $44bn in October and is its chief government, wrote to his 122mn followers on Sunday night time: “Ought to I step down as head of Twitter? I’ll abide by the outcomes of this ballot.”
Musk later mentioned in a tweet: “Nobody needs the job who can truly hold Twitter alive. There is no such thing as a successor.”
The ballot is open for 11 hours, closing at 10.20am GMT. With three hours left, 14mn had voted, with 57 per cent in favour of him stepping down and 43 per cent in opposition to.
The transfer comes after Twitter introduced earlier on Sunday a brand new coverage banning customers from sharing hyperlinks to their accounts on rival platforms, together with Mark Zuckerberg’s Fb and Instagram, in addition to rising Twitter rival Mastodon, Donald Trump’s Fact Social, plus Tribel, Nostr and Submit.
“We all know that a lot of our customers could also be energetic on different social media platforms; nevertheless, going ahead, Twitter will not permit free promotion of particular social media platforms on Twitter,” the corporate mentioned in a publish.
Preliminary offences may end in non permanent suspensions or a requirement to delete the offending tweet, however repeat offenders danger everlasting suspension, it mentioned.
“Twitter must be straightforward to make use of, however no extra relentless free promoting of rivals. No conventional writer permits this and neither will Twitter,” Musk mentioned on the platform earlier on Sunday.
Nevertheless, the coverage sparked instant criticism from Musk’s detractors and even a few of his high-profile Silicon Valley allies for being too restrictive.
The SpaceX and Tesla chief government then responded by saying that the coverage could be “adjusted” in order that suspensions would solely apply “when that account’s major objective is promotion of rivals”.
In a separate tweet, he wrote: “Going ahead, there shall be a vote for main coverage modifications. My apologies. Received’t occur once more.”
The transfer is the most recent shake-up since Musk took the helm, firing about half of its employees, slicing prices and overhauling its verification and moderation processes.
It comes two days after Musk additionally suspended a number of high-profile US journalists from Twitter, suggesting they fell foul of a just lately created coverage on sharing location info. The journalists, together with Ryan Mac of the New York Instances and Donie O’Sullivan of CNN, have since been reinstated. On Friday, EU and UK politicians expressed concern over the suspensions and press freedom.
Sunday’s coverage change drew scrutiny from a few of Musk’s supporters in Silicon Valley together with former a16z accomplice Balaji Srinivasan, who wrote: “This can be a dangerous coverage and must be reversed. The appropriate option to compete is to construct a greater product, to not limit the usage of your product.”
Paul Graham, the founding father of the Y Combinator start-up incubator who had beforehand praised Musk as he took over Twitter, wrote: “That is the final straw. I hand over”, earlier than including that his web site had a hyperlink to his Mastodon account. He was then suspended from the platform for the tweet.
Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s former chief government who invested in one of many banned platforms Nostr, mentioned in a tweet that the coverage “doesn’t make sense”.
Different critics argue that the transfer is prone to be unpopular amongst creators, most of whom have constructed up audiences throughout a number of platforms, and is at odds with Musk’s pledge to be a free speech proponent. Musk has introduced again accounts that had been completely banned below the earlier management, equivalent to that of former US president Donald Trump.
Specialists additionally warn that the insurance policies may draw scrutiny from EU and US regulators. “These [policies] are clearly anti-competitive . . . as they appear to stop communication throughout shoppers evaluating rivals,” mentioned Pinar Yildirim, affiliate professor of economics and advertising and marketing on the Wharton Faculty of the College of Pennsylvania.
Earlier than Sunday’s coverage was introduced, many Twitter customers trying to share hyperlinks to their very own Mastodon profiles had been prevented from doing so, with the positioning flagging the posts as “doubtlessly dangerous”.