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Elon Musk announces plans to sorta, not really resign as Twitter CEO

Twitter CEO Elon Musk broke his silence on Tuesday after being voted out by platform users in a poll. He said he’ll resign, but there are a few caveats

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Elon Musk arrives at the justice center in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday, July 13, 2021.

Elon Musk arrives at the justice center in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Following an overwhelming response to his decidedly nonscientific polling over the weekend, the Twitter CEO on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, announced his plans to resign from the top executive position at the company he acquired in a $44 billion deal that closed in October.

Matt Rourke, Associated Press

Following an overwhelming response to his decidedly nonscientific polling over the weekend, Twitter CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday announced his plans to resign from the top executive position at the company he acquired in a $44 billion deal that closed in October.

Musk’s poll drew over 17.5 million responses from humans and bots, of which some 58% called for him to step down as the platform’s top executive. Musk remained mum about the poll results until Tuesday, when he tweeted he plans to resign, albeit not until he finds a CEO candidate “foolish enough to take the job.”

Musk further qualified his intentions in the Tuesday posting, noting that he plans to continue running a significant segment of Twitter’s operations after a new CEO takes over.

“I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!” Musk tweeted. “After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.”

Musk has yet to identify any candidates for the position and waxed pessimistic about potential prospects in a Sunday tweet.

“No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive,” Musk wrote. “There is no successor.”

What’s been happening at Twitter since Elon Musk took over?

Twitter has been in nonstop upheaval since Musk took the reins of the company, as he’s now fired half of the 7,500 employees, vacillated wildly on policies over verified users, eliminated contract moderation workers and driven away advertisers who are wary of their ads showing up in an unmoderated realm.

Paid advertising on the platform, which boasts around 240 million daily users, is key to Twitter’s business model and reportedly accounts for about 90% of the company’s revenues. Twitter is on pace to lose $4 billion a year after the advertiser exodus, Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives estimated, according to CNN.

Musk also instituted a ban on users plugging their accounts on other social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram, Mastodon, Tribel, Nostr, Post and former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social.

A growing number of Twitter users have left the platform under Musk, or created alternative accounts on Mastodon, Tribel, Nostr or Post, and included those addresses in their Twitter profiles, according to The Associated Press. Twitter gave no explanation for why the blacklist included some websites but not others such as Parler, TikTok or LinkedIn.

A test case is the prominent venture capitalist Paul Graham, who in the past has praised Musk but on Sunday told his 1.5 million Twitter followers that this was the “last straw” and to find him on Mastodon, per AP. His Twitter account was promptly suspended, and then restored, as Musk reversed the policy implemented just hours earlier.

What’s been happening at Tesla since Elon Musk took over Twitter?

Tesla stock has been on a steady decline for the past year and, at one point, had lost almost a third of its value since late October when Musk took over Twitter.

Some Tesla investors have accused Musk of focusing on Twitter issues to the detriment of Tesla operations. And Musk has had to liquidate some of his Tesla stock holdings in order to cover expenses incurred by his Twitter purchase, sending stock prices even lower. But Tesla shares were up 5% in premarket trading after the poll results were revealed, per CNN.

“This has been a black eye moment for Musk and been a major overhang on Tesla’s stock which continues to suffer in a brutal way since the Twitter soap opera began with brand deterioration related to Musk a real issue,” Ives said in a note to clients Monday, according to CNN.