Musk paid $44 billion for Twitter and then maneuvered the short message service to the brink of collapse. After a series of controversial decisions, Musk faces a poll. And the “Voice of the People” demands his resignation.
Elon Musk’s days as CEO of Twitter could be numbered – if the multi-billionaire sticks to the results of a survey he launched himself on Sunday evening. 17.5 million users voted. And the result was clear: 57.5 percent voted for Musk’s resignation as “Head of Twitter”. 42.5 percent voted for the 51-year-old to remain in the executive chair.
The voting result is not representative. Elon Musk alone has more than 122 million followers on the platform. In comparison, 17.5 million votes is not that much. In principle, the survey was open to all members of the platform, but only for twelve hours. Musk had previously assured that he would stick to the result of the vote. “As the saying goes, ‘Be careful what you wish for, it may come true’.”
There’s a lot to suggest that Musk made the decision to step down from day-to-day operations at Twitter before the poll. The multi-billionaire is known for launching polls to justify decisions already made. Most famously, Musk asked on Twitter in the past whether he should sell 10 percent of his shares in Tesla. Among other things, this brought him into trouble with Tesla investors who felt they had been ripped off. Documents that were later released showed that Musk had long since negotiated a plan to sell the shares.
The current voting result on the possible resignation as “Head of Twitter” triggered a storm of cheers among Tesla investors on the stock exchange. The share price of the electric car manufacturer increased by four percent before the market. Previously, big investors like Ross Gerber, CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth
Elon Musk took over the short message service in October for $44 billion. According to experts, the price was far too high because Twitter has so far hardly made any profits and lags behind other social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or TikTok in terms of reach. 27 billion dollars of the purchase price came from Musk himself, who had to sell Tesla shares on a large scale and is therefore no longer the richest man in the world.
13 billion from the purchase price were borne by Twitter as bank debt, with the rest contributed by investors such as Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, Qatar Holding and Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud. After the negative headlines of the past few weeks and the associated drop in advertising revenue, Twitter investors and banks now have to fear for their money.
To save costs, Musk laid off around half of the workforce immediately after taking office. In addition, a number of employees voluntarily left the company because they did not agree with Musk’s course. Controversial decisions included reactivating ex-US President Donald Trump’s suspended account, which was suspended after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington in January 2021.
Some of the people who may be venturing back onto Twitter include the notorious neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, whose anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and hate speech against dissidents have been deemed so dangerous by several courts that they have forced him to pay his victims millions of dollars have condemned.
On the other hand, Musk used his new power over Twitter to suppress publicly available information about his private jet’s location on the platform. The @ElonJet account has been blocked. In addition, Musk had the accounts of several journalists who had reported on the controversy blocked. After a storm of indignation, Musk had most of the journalist accounts reactivated.
If Musk actually retires as Twitter boss, there are already a few candidates who could become the new “Head of Twitter”. Investor Jason Calacanis (51) is the favorite. When Musk asked him during negotiations if he would like to be his strategic advisor if the Twitter deal went through, Calacanis pledged allegiance in a text message: “Board member, advisor, whatever… You have my sword,” wrote Calacanis. “Put me in, Coach! Twitter CEO is my dream job.”
But even if Musk were to let his confidante Calacanis, or right-wing venture capitalist David Sacks, as Twitter CEO, that wouldn’t count as a resignation. Musk will remain the majority owner of the social network, which still gives him tremendous control over Twitter’s content direction.