What the Heck is Happening at Twitter? From Elon Musk’s CEO Poll to the New Social Media Policy, Here’s What You Need to Know
If you’ve been trying to keep up with things happening on Twitter this week, you’re probably putting in the equivalent
If you’ve been trying to keep up with things happening on Twitter this week, you’re probably putting in the equivalent of a full-time job in the effort.
After all, it’s been chaotic ever since new CEO Elon Musk took over – but this weekend turned into a whole new level of chaos.
With rapid-fire policy changes and Musk asking if he should step down as CEO, people may be wondering what the heck is going on at Twitter – with good reason.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s been happening, and what you need to know to keep up.
Twitter Bans Other Social Media Links, then Abruptly Reverses Course
Over the weekend, Twitter abruptly unveiled a blog post describing a new policy.
The policy was ostensibly created to avoid cross-platform promotion, and read in part, “At both the Tweet level and the account level, we will remove any free promotion of prohibited 3rd-party social media platforms, such as linking out (i.e. using URLs) to any of the below platforms on Twitter, or providing your handle without a URL:
- Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Post and Nostr.
- 3rd-party social media links aggregators such as linktr.ee, link.bio.”
This decision likely came directly from Musk after a wave of Twitter users posted their handles and URLs to other social media platforms in anticipation of Twitter crashing after Musk took over.
But it immediately received backlash, as people spoke out against what seemed like “jealous partner” behavior.
And by Sunday, Twitter had reversed course and removed the policy, as well as deleting a tweet announcing its implementation.
Elon Musk Asks Twitter if he Should Step Down as CEO
In the wake of that disastrous roll-out, Musk seemingly tweeted in response, “Going forward, there will be a vote for major policy changes. My apologies. Won’t happen again.”
And then he followed it up with the now-infamous poll asking, “Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.”
And when the poll closed, 57% of respondents voted in favor of Musk stepping down with a “yes,” vote. 42% voted “no.” Over 17 million Twitter users responded to the poll.
But the action wasn’t limited to the poll itself, the comments were flooded with replies from high-profile accounts.
Including famed YouTuber and all-around good guy, Mr. Beast. He responded to the poll saying, “If you’re going to keep doing stuff like this, yes” and added a vomit emoji. In his reply, the YouTuber linked to a screenshot of the now-defunct Twitter policy on sharing social media links and handles. This policy was particularly blasted by influencers because it’s common for them to drop a linktr.ee aggregator link on their bio, or refer their followers to other platforms to connect with them across other social media apps.
Other YouTubers got in on the ribbing, with famed gaming YouTubers GeorgeNotFound and Dream trading a playful barb. Between the two, they have over 40 million subscribers on YouTube, and aren’t often seen weighing in on heavy political or social topics.
Other pop culture figures weighed in as well, with acquitted Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse encouraging Musk to keep his job. Rittenhouse was blasted by many, including activist Jonathan Franks.
And American political commentator Lou Dobbs also weighed in, calling for Musk to stick to his guns.
Crypto Giants Also Weigh in on Musk’s Poll
But it wasn’t just pop culture icons and commentators weighing in on the poll.
Professional rivals and fellow members of the rich boys club joined the fray.
Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin replied, “ok I actually respect this.”
And Binance co-founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao wrote, “No, stay the course.”
It was an interesting moment of watching real-time decisions at a company playing out on social media. For the first time, the public was exposed to the kind of pressure major company CEOs can face from multiple directors as both supporters and critics vied for the best point to make in response to Musk’s question
Since the poll concluded against Musk’s favor, the Twitter CEO has not responded directly except to tweet, “Those who want power are the ones who least deserve it.”
Rumors Spread that Investors Pressured Musk to Step Down Before he Posted the Poll
While it seems spontaneous and irresponsible, Musk’s post about stepping down is not as without context as it appears.
A major Tesla angel investor who goes by Raisini on Twitter provided some insight into what may have led to Musk’s public gesture.
Raisini tweeted this series of comments about the situation, leading with a comment that he overheard Twitter’s other investors pressuring Musk to step down.
Raisini added that shortly after Musk’s investor pals from Saudi Arabia and Qatar encouraged him to get it together or step down, Musk tweeted the comment about “major policy changes” going to a vote and apologized.
Raisini adds that the post about reversing the policy was followed by a “pretend poll” to save him the embarrassment of stepping down due to pressure.
Some speculated that he had always planned to step down and already has a successor lined up.
No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 19, 2022
But Musk put that speculation to rest when he replied to a tweet speaking of his alleged handpicked successor with, “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.”
And that basically brings you up to speed. So far, Musk has not replied to the poll encouraging him to step down.
But Musk has been signaling since the beginning that he wasn’t interested in keeping the job of CEO long-term, so all of this may have been in the works long before the poll went up. If you believe Raisini, Musk was under pressure to resign soon anyway.
It remains to be seen what will happen with Twitter’s future, but with the company hemorrhaging money and investors nervous about Musk’s volatility, anything could happen.
One company has benefitted from the poll, however. Tesla stocks have been diving in recent weeks as Musk continues to focus on Twitter and left Tesla on autopilot.
But once the poll ended in favor of Musk stepping down from Twitter, Tesla stocks began rising again.
Could that be the long game all along?