Elon Musk's Twitter profile is seen on a smartphone placed on printed Twitter logos in this picture illustration
Image Credit: Reuters

Elon Musk has said he will resign as CEO of Twitter as soon as he finds someone foolish enough to take the job.

He added he will then just run the software and servers teams.

On Monday, eight weeks after buying the firm for $44 billion, 57 per cent of respondents — or 10 million votes — favoured Musk stepping down. The survey findings were released on Monday.

On Tuesday, Musk stated that he questioned the validity of a Twitter poll in which the majority of respondents suggested that he should resign as the company's CEO.

Musk had previously stated that he would follow the poll's findings, but in a series of tweets, the billionaire hinted that he thought the vote might have been manipulated by bots.

On Monday, Twitter users voted to oust controversial microblogging site owner as CEO in a poll he organised and promised to honour, just weeks after he took charge of the social media giant.

A total of 57.5 per cent of more than 17 million accounts voted for him to step down. Musk is also the boss of car maker Tesla and rocket firm SpaceX, as well as Neuralink and The Boring Co.

Did 'bots' win the vote?
On Tuesday, the polling firm HarrisX published the results of its own survey of Twitter users, in which 61 per cent of participants chose to keep Musk as CEO.

"Interesting. Make the case that Twitter may still be experiencing a small bot problem", Musk responded.

Adding that the poll was conducted independently of Twitter or any Elon Musk-linked entities, HarrisX claimed the results "debunk" the vote on Twitter.

This came after Musk supported a different post that claimed automated bots had taken control of the Twitter poll.

Any polls, he added, will only be open to paying Twitter subscribers.

Courting controversies

He took over Twitter on October 27 and has repeatedly courted controversy, sacking half of its staff, readmitting far-right figures to the platform, banning journalists and trying to charge for previously free services.

Musk has used the Twitter polls to take other decisions on the platform, including the reinstatement of the account of former US president Donald Trump and other suspended users.

Earlier this week he used a laughing emoji to ridicule a report he was in search of someone to take over as boss of Twitter, and tweeted that "no one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive."

Analysts have pointed out that the stock price of his electric car company Tesla has slumped by one-third since Musk's Twitter takeover, and some suggest Tesla's board was putting pressure on him to quit his Twitter role.

"Finally a good step in the right direction to end this painful nightmare situation for Tesla investors," said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives on Tuesday.

In discussions with users after posting his latest poll, Musk had renewed his warnings that the platform could be heading for bankruptcy.

Policy by poll?

The unpredictable entrepreneur posted his poll on his resignation shortly after trying to extricate himself from yet another controversy.

On Sunday, Twitter users were told they would no longer be able to promote content from other social media sites.


But Musk seemed to reverse course a few hours later, writing that the policy would be limited to suspending accounts only when that account's "primary purpose is promotion of competitors."

The attempted ban prompted howls of disapproval and even bemused Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey, who had backed Musk's takeover.

Analyst Ives noted that "advertisers have run for the hills and left Twitter squarely in the red ink potentially on track to lose roughly $4 billion per year."

Shortly after taking over the platform, Musk announced it would charge $8 per month to verify account holders' identities, but he had to suspend the "Twitter Blue" plan after an embarrassing rash of fake accounts. It has since been relaunched.

On November 4, with Musk saying the company was losing $4 million a day, Twitter laid off half of its 7,500-strong staff.

Musk also reinstated Trump's account - though the former US president indicated he had no interest in the platform - and said Twitter would no longer work to combat Covid-19 disinformation.

In recent days, he suspended the accounts of several journalists after complaining some had published details about the movements of his private jet, which he claimed could endanger his family.

Some of the suspended accounts have since been reactivated.

On Monday, the head of the European Parliament, speaker Roberta Metsola, sent a letter to Musk inviting him to testify before the legislature, her spokesman said.

The parliament has no power to compel Musk to turn up, and his response was not immediately known.