After 53 days, countless firings, a total collapse of his free speech posture, and some very weird lies about doxxing and “assassination coordinates,” Elon Musk might be poised to step down as head of Twitter.
Musk had always said that he expects to find a new CEO “over time,” but the timeline may have been accelerated starting Sunday, December 18th, when he put up a 12-hour Twitter poll asking, “Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.” In a decisive result, 57.5% to 42.5%, Twitter users voted “Yes,” he should abdicate the role.
“Be careful what you wish,” Musk warned as the results of his poll came in. “You might get it.” In response to a comment suggesting a replacement CEO had already been selected, Musk added, “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.” As of this writing, he has not tweeted since poll was finalized.
The decision came after one of the rockiest weeks in Musk’s oft-craggy reign. On December 14th, he tweeted that a “crazy stalker” had accosted a car “thinking it was me” while it carried his son, X. He used this as justification to change Twitter’s Terms of Service so that, as he put it, “Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation.”
The wording of the update seemed confusingly vague — are White House Pool reporters doxxing the President if they report his location? — and Musk followed the change by suspending the account of @ElonJet, which used publicly available flight data to post when Musk’s private jet left or landed at an airport.
The move sparked a vigorous debate on the definition of “doxxing,” since all the information was public, and followers of @ElonJet would only know that he had landed at, for instance, LAX, but not at which gate or terminal. Musk followed that on December 15th by suspending the accounts of at least eight journalists who worked at outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN, all without warning.