20221030 elon musk
Musk has spent much of his time since takeover on Twitter Image Credit: Reuters

Elon Musk, under fire for recent policy changes at Twitter Inc., is asking users to vote on whether he should step down as head of the social media site.

The billionaire owner of Twitter and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc. will abide by the results of the poll, he pledged in a tweet Sunday. With 9 hours left and 7.4 million votes cast, 57 per cent of polled users have said yes. Three of the top trending topics in the US were about the platform itself, including "VOTE YES" and "CEO of Twitter."

Following his takeover of Twitter, Musk has weathered criticism for his sweeping changes at the social network - such as firing more than half its staff and bringing back previously barred accounts - as well as calls to refocus on Tesla, whose share price has been plummeting. Since reluctantly completing the Twitter acquisition at the end of October, he has spent much of his time on the social service.

He was posting late into the night Thursday after tangling with journalists, Twitter's most engaged and active contributors. The company banned a number of them from major publications like the Washington Post and CNN, alleging they were doxxing his location.

The move incurred condemnation from the likes of the American Civil Liberties Union and even the United Nations, who called it a "dangerous precedent."

Over the weekend, Twitter also announced a policy change whereby it will bar accounts "created solely" to promote competing social networks. That decision led to the suspension of at least one prominent account, prompting Musk to say he'll adjust the policy mere hours after its introduction.

His remaking of Twitter's rules on the fly has also sparked discontent among users and advertisers, leading to unpredictability about the content that can and cannot be posted.

The policy update would impact content from social media platforms like Meta Platforms' Facebook and Instagram, along with Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Nostr and Post while allowing cross-content posting, Twitter support said in a tweet.

Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who recently invested in social media platform Nostr, replied to the Twitter support post with one word: "Why?". In a reply to another user posting about the Nostr promotion ban, Dorsey said, "doesn't make sense".

On Sunday, Musk apologised and said he'll conduct votes on major policy changes. Three minutes later he published the poll asking if he should step down. The Twitter Safety account later offered a poll on whether it should have the policy on removing accounts promoting other social media platforms.