It took time but Elon Musk finally kept his word.
The whimsical and charismatic visionary will respect the results of the poll he himself organized on December 18.
As he often does for important decisions, the billionaire asked Twitter users to vote on his future as CEO of the platform. The question was clear: should he step down as head of Twitter?
Voters had only two options: Yes and No. Nearly 18 million Twitter users had voted and 57.5% had opted for Yes. Musk had pledged to respect the results of the vote.
Within hours of the result, he began responding to tweets from users suggesting that a large number of fake accounts, or spam bots, may have participated in the vote. This hypothesis had prompted the serial entrepreneur to announce that in the future only subscribers to Blue, Twitter’s subscription service worth $ 7.99 per month, would be allowed to vote on major decisions.
If he had applied this rule, only 140,000 subscribers would have had the right to vote instead of the millions who did. Indeed, according to the New York Times Blue only recorded 140,000 subscribers as of November 15.
‘I Will Resign’
Some 24 hours after the results, Musk finally decided to recognize the result and draw the consequences. He has just announced his resignation as CEO but will continue to oversee the engineering teams.
“I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!” the billionaire announced on December 20. “After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.”
He didn’t say if he already had a few names in mind. But according to CNBC, the billionaire had embarked on the search for a successor long before he organized the poll.
The billionaire said on December 18 that: “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive, There is no successor.”
“The question is not finding a CEO, the question is finding a CEO who can keep Twitter alive,” he added.
When podcaster Lex Fridman and a fan of his volunteered, Musk took the opportunity to give two important criteria for the new CEO.
“You must like pain a lot,” Musk responded. “One catch: you have to invest your life savings in Twitter and it has been in the fast lane to bankruptcy since May. Still want the job?”
Last month, the billionaire said that “the company is losing over $4M/day.” He reiterated that pessimistic view during a Twitter Spaces on Dec. 20. He said that the platform was on track to hit $3 billion in negative cash flow before the drastic cost cuts he made.
Since Elon Musk took control of the platform for $44 billion on October 27, the focus on the platform’s has increased even further. It has become the social network covered by almost all the media in the world on a daily basis.
Who to Replace Musk?
Companies, advertisers, influencers, politicians, rights groups and others are closely watching how the new owner will mediate public discourse on the platform.
But less than two months after the start of the Musk era, it is almost chaos. At least 5,000 of the company’s 7,500 employees when he arrived have been fired or left.
The safeguards that had been put in place to limit the spread of hateful, racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic speech and misinformation have been relaxed. Today, any message is accepted on the platform as long as it does not violate the law, a laissez-faire approach in the name of free speech.
The problem is that Musk, who defines himself as the “free speech absolutist,” suspended accounts of journalists who criticized him, which prompted many of his critics to ask him to clarify the rules governing free speech. The Techno king has been called a “king” by legendary investor Mark Cuban, who deplores the lack of transparency in the rules in place at Twitter.
The opaque rules and unpredictability of Musk, who has also become very political, had serious financial consequences for both Twitter and Tesla, another Musk company, which seems to be paying the price for the politicization of its CEO and his activism on Twitter.
Advertisers have fled the social network, even though Musk says the number of users has increased. Many brands like General Motors have paused their ads to see what Musk intends to do with the platform.
Different names are circulating to replace Musk. There are two of his lieutenants: investor and podcaster Jason Calacanis and former PayPal Holdings executive David Sacks.
Musk has already said no to John Legere, the former CEO of T-Mobile who had offered his services. The name of Sheryl Sandberg, the former COO of Facebook, is also circulating.