Twitter’s future under Elon Musk remains shrouded in uncertainty after the billionaire appeared to ignore an online poll saying he should step down.
On Monday, more than 57% of users who voted in a poll Musk posted on Twitter said he should step down as CEO.
Musk had said he would respect the result, but after the numbers were revealed, he went silent before returning to Twitter to suggest that future polls should only be open to those who pay for the Twitter Blue subscription service.
He also seemed to agree with a suggestion that the vote was skewed by fake accounts.
The ongoing saga has led to more questions about the stability of the entrepreneur’s reign after two turbulent months at the helm of the site, with some asking whether he always planned to run Twitter this way or is now simply bored from their last purchase and is looking elsewhere for something more impactful.
While appearing in U.S. court in November as part of a Tesla case, Musk said he hoped to find someone else to run Twitter’s day-to-day operations “over time,” but his apparent stubbornness about the survey result suggests that he may not be planning to step aside just yet.
Now the Tesla boss has been accused by Bill Gates of causing further polarization on the platform with his push for more free speech and looser content moderation, with the Microsoft founder telling the Financial Times Musk’s decision to “seat of the pants”. to style is to “shake up” the online division.
His chaotic tenure at the social media platform has also begun to worry Tesla shareholders, who have seen the value of their shares drop substantially since Musk took over Twitter in October and oversaw a series of of controversial decisions that commentators suggested damaged its credibility with its investors. and, above all, his personal wealth.
Advertisers have also expressed concern about the direction the company has taken under the billionaire, with many pausing their ad spend on the platform over concerns about the type of content their brands might appear on.
This outside pressure is believed to be one of the reasons why Musk publicly suggested he step down as CEO, but the lack of clear acknowledgment of the outcome has only created more uncertainty, it has been argued.
Thomas Walters, co-founder of marketing agency Billion Dollar Boy, said even Musk’s departure as CEO may not be enough to settle some Twitter stakeholders.
“Under Musk’s ownership, Twitter has been dogged by uncertainty. And if there’s one thing advertisers on the platforms need, it’s reassurance,” he said.
“While Musk’s departure may be a step in the right direction to restore some trust between brands on the platform, it nevertheless adds even more uncertainty to its near-term future.
“Who will be in charge? Once they’re up and running, how much operational influence will Musk continue to have? What will the updated content moderation policies look like? These are just a few of the many questions advertisers will be asking, and the answers are unlikely to come anytime soon.
“Even when the responses do come, it’s hard to say whether or not they’ll be enough to reassure advertisers that Twitter is a brand-safe environment.”
When he released the survey about his leadership future, the Tesla boss said there is “no successor” lined up and warned users to be careful what they wish for.
What role Musk will play in this future is still unclear.