Elon Musk to step down as head of Twitter if poll holds

Owner asks users if he should stay in charge of the social media platform after acknowledging he made a mistake on Sunday

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Elon Musk late on Sunday posted a poll asking users if he should step down from his role as head of Twitter, the social media platform he bought in October that has been surrounded by controversy ever since.

Early results from the poll showed about 57 per cent of respondents were in favour of Mr Musk standing down.

He posted the 12-hour survey after apologising for banning links to several “prohibited” social media platforms including Facebook in a move that drew fierce condemnation.

“My apologies. Won’t happen again,” Mr Musk tweeted around the same time he launched the poll, whose results he promised to abide by.

Mr Musk's tenure at Twitter has seen him hand several key decisions over to users, including whether former president Donald Trump's banned account should be reinstated or whether journalists accused of “doxxing” personal information should have their bans reversed.

But Mr Musk seemed to massively raise the stakes at a personal level by placing his own position at the company that cost him an initial $44 billion, and billions more since, in the hands of Twitter users.

Several poll respondents claimed Mr Musk knew it would probably oppose him remaining.

“As the saying goes, be careful what you wish, as you might get it,” he tweeted, adding that he did not have a successor picked out.

Since walking into Twitter's head office in San Francisco carrying a sink in late October, barely a day has gone by without Mr Musk drawing global headlines from decisions he made, many seemingly on a whim, at the platform.

Shortly after he arrived, he fired most of the staff and openly criticised the working culture of his new company as being too “woke” and not industrious enough.

Mr Musk, who runs several other companies including Tesla and SpaceX, gave what amounted to a real-time glimpse into his combative managerial style and hit back at claims staff were sleeping in the headquarters building.

His tweets took a new turn last week as he toyed with several journalists using Twitter by banning them, then sometimes reinstating them after a backlash.

Those bans came after he shut down a Twitter account that was tracking the flights of his private jet.

Then on Sunday, in the move he later apologised for, he banned accounts linking to mainstream websites such as Facebook and Instagram, and upstart rivals Mastodon, Tribel, Nostr, Post and Mr Trump's Truth Social.

Mr Musk has also frequently tweeted his right-wing political views, alienating a large chuck of his liberal Tesla customer base and triggering a seemingly unending sell-off in stocks of the electric car maker that has cost Mr Musk tens of billions of dollars.

Earlier this month, he attacked Dr Anthony Fauci, the leading US expert on infectious diseases in a move that the White House branded “dangerous” and “disgusting”.

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Updated: December 20, 2022, 8:47 AM