Elon Musk submitted his future at the head of Twitter to an inquiry on the social network, pledging to respect the choice of internet users.
“Should I leave Twitter management?”, asked the billionaire overnight from Sunday to Monday on the social network.
“I will stick to the results of this survey”, he promised.
One hour before the end of the poll, 57.4% of the more than 16 million participants voted yes.
In an exchange with a Twitter user, Musk also assured that he did not have a designated successor.
He also said the platform was “on a fast track to bankruptcy” in response to computer scientist Lex Fridman, who jokingly offered to take over Twitter’s reins.
The survey was launched by Musk shortly after the tempestuous businessman announced that “‘major policy changes’ on the social network will always be on the ballot.
This announcement comes after widespread criticism of Twitter’s decision announced on Sunday to ban its users from posting links to competing networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon or Truth Social.
It becomes, for example, forbidden to tweet: “Thank you for following me @Identifier on Instagram”, indicated the platform.
These new rules aroused the incomprehension of many users, including Jack Dorsey, co-founder and former head of Twitter. “Because?” he tweeted soberly.
After some accounts were suspended under the new policy, including that of investor Paul Graham, Musk qualified his decision.
He tweeted that instead of targeting individual tweets, the policy would be limited to “suspending accounts only when the +primary+ purpose of that account is to promote competitors.”
– Accounts suspended –
Since its acquisition by the boss of Tesla and SpaceX at the end of October, for 44 billion dollars, the moderation rules established on Twitter by Musk, a self-proclaimed defender of freedom of expression, have been far from unanimous.
In recent days, he has deleted and then restored the accounts of several American journalists at CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post in particular, prompting a backlash from the European Union and the UN. The vice-president of the European Commission even threatened the businessman with sanctions.
The multibillionaire had suspended first, on Wednesday, @elonjet, an account that automatically reported the routes of his private jet, then the accounts of journalists who tweeted about the decision, accusing them of putting his family in danger.
They were reinstated on Saturday, but some said they were told to delete certain posts if they wanted to make full use of the platform.
And on Saturday night, the Twitter account of Washington Post journalist Taylor Lorenz was suspended for several hours.
“Elon Musk suspended my Twitter account,” said the journalist, who covers the technology sector for the Washington Post, in her blog.
Her account was restored on Sunday and she tweeted at 12:38 pm (5:38 pm GMT).
– Controversial decisions –
Earlier in the day, Musk had said on Twitter that it was a “temporary suspension due to prior disclosure of personal data by this account”.
His tweet was in response to Eric Weinstein, managing director of Thiel Capital – an investment company founded by Peter Thiel, an investor and supporter of former US President Donald Trump -, who questioned him on the matter.
The journalist explained that she asked Musk a question via Twitter, for an article she was writing, because she was unable to reach him through traditional channels.
“At 8:30 pm (01:30 GMT) I tried to reach him on Twitter to make a comment,” she said, adding that she later “went into (Twitter) to see if he responded to our request, “his account was suspended” “I have not received any communication from the company about the reasons for my suspension or the terms I violated,” she said.
Musk has made controversial decisions since acquiring Twitter, reinstating accounts that had been banned, including Trump’s, and ending the fight against Covid-19 misinformation.
But it also suspended rapper Kanye West’s account after the publication of several messages deemed anti-Semitic and refused far-right conspirator Alex Jones’ return to the platform.