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 outcome, 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 govt, wrote to his 122mn followers on Sunday evening: “Ought to I step down as head of Twitter? I’ll abide by the outcomes of this ballot.”
Musk later tweeted: “Nobody needs the job who can really hold Twitter alive. There is no such thing as a successor.”
The ballot is open for 11 hours and with eight hours left, greater than 8mn had voted, with 57 per cent in favour of him stepping down and 43 per cent towards.
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 Publish.
“We all know that lots of our customers could also be lively on different social media platforms; nevertheless, going ahead, Twitter will now not permit free promotion of particular social media platforms on Twitter,” the corporate mentioned in a put up.
Preliminary offences may end in momentary suspensions or a requirement to delete the offending tweet, however repeat offenders danger everlasting suspension, it mentioned.
“Twitter ought to be straightforward to make use of, however no extra relentless free promoting of opponents. No conventional writer permits this and neither will Twitter,” Musk mentioned on the platform earlier on Sunday.
Nevertheless, the coverage sparked rapid 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 govt then responded by saying that the coverage could be “adjusted” in order that suspensions would solely apply “when that account’s main function is promotion of opponents”.
In a separate tweet, he wrote: “Going ahead, there might be a vote for main coverage modifications. My apologies. Received’t occur once more.”
The transfer is the newest shake-up since Musk took the helm, firing round half of its employees, chopping 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 Occasions 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 associate Balaji Srinivasan, who wrote: “It is a dangerous coverage and ought to be reversed. The precise method to compete is to construct a greater product, to not limit the usage of your product.”
In the meantime, 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 surrender”, 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 govt who invested in one of many banned platforms Nostr, tweeted that the coverage “doesn’t make sense”.
Different critics argue that the transfer is more likely 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 have been completely banned underneath the earlier management, similar 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 customers evaluating opponents,” mentioned Pinar Yildirim, affiliate professor of economics and advertising on the Wharton College 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 have been prevented from doing so, with the location flagging the posts as “probably dangerous”.