Elon Musk has broken his silence, tweeting for the first time since more than 10 million people voted in favor of him stepping down as the chief executive of Twitter.
Musk on Sunday asked Twitter users whether he should step down as the head of the social media company, promising to abide by the results of the poll. The poll closed 24 hours later, with 57.5 percent saying he should step down.
In the words of Musk himself, “Be careful what you wish for.”
What is not clear is whether Musk will actually step down, despite saying he would. Musk is typically a prolific user of the platform. But the billionaire did not tweet in the immediate hours after the poll.
His silence was noticed.
He finally started responding with “interesting” to multiple suggestions that the results of the poll were skewed by fake accounts.
Replying to another user’s suggestion that “Blue subscribers should be the only ones that can vote in policy-related polls”, Musk said: “Good point. Twitter will make that change.”
Twitter Blue is a paid-for subscription that allows anyone to buy a blue tick verified badge for their account. Twitter is a privately held company of which Musk is the majority owner. So no one can actually force Musk to step down.
But a series of controversial and downright baffling decisions over the past few days has caused even some of his closest backers to break ties with him.
This has included a decision to ban an account that tracked the location of his private jet, which was followed up with a mass suspension of critical journalists who reported on the ban.
That led in turn to an exodus of some engaged users to other social networks, chiefly its decentralised competitor Mastodon, whose own account was banned for posting a link to the jet tracker’s account on the rival platform.
Musk then banned all links to other social networks. This included the competitor Mastadon, as well as Instagram, and Facebook. He even banned links to smaller platforms, like Nostr, which is used by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. One of the more random ones was Linktree, a homepage creation tool favored by influencers.
That ban was rescinded by the end of the day, after a Twitter poll from the Twitter Safety account, with Musk saying: “Going forward, there will be a vote for major policy changes. My apologies. Won’t happen again.”
Musk has a history of using Twitter polls to rubber-stamp major decisions.
This has included when he sold a tenth of his Tesla holdings after a 2021 poll, as well as restoring Donald Trump’s account last month and reinstating a number of suspended accounts.
But oftentimes Musk gives the impression that he already has decided on the outcome before he posts these polls.