(CNSNews.com) – Amid a rollercoaster ride of explosive revelations about the platform’s past behavior, snap policy changes, and irate reactions, Twitter CEO Elon Musk on Sunday posted a poll asking users whether or not they want him to stay on at the helm, and promising to accept the outcome.
“Should I step down as head of Twitter?” Musk tweeted. “I will abide by the results of this poll.”
Six hours into the 12-hour poll, more than 11.2 million votes had poured in, with those wanting him to step down leading by 56.3 to 43.7 percent.
About 20 minutes after posting the poll, Musk tweeted again, “As the saying goes, be careful what you wish, as you might get it.”
Earlier, Musk was coming under fire over a newly-announced – and short-lived – policy, prohibiting the use of Twitter to promote users’ feeds on competing social media platforms.
“We recognize that many of our users are active on other social media platforms,” the @TwitterSupport account informed users. “However, we will no longer allow free promotion of certain social media platforms on Twitter.”
Twitter said it would remove accounts that have been “created solely for the purpose of promoting other social platforms and content that contains links or usernames for the following platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Truth Social, Tribel, Nostr and Post.”
Outrage ensued, @TwitterSupport took down its thread, and Musk tweeted – in apparent reference to the now-canned policy – “Going forward, there will be a vote for major policy changes. My apologies. Won’t happen again.”
Three minutes later, he posted the poll putting his future at the helm of Twitter to a public vote.
Twitter recently suspended an account that shared real-time information about Musk’s location using flight-tracking data, which the Twitter CEO called a “physical safety violation.” Twitter then suspended accounts of a handful of journalists covering social media who had reported on the suspension of the “Elonjet” account.
“Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not,” Musk tweeted of the actions taken.
The account suspensions garnered the attention of senior United Nations officials.
“Deeply disturbed by reports of journalists being arbitrarily suspended from Twitter,” tweeted Melissa Fleming, head of the U.N. Department of Global Communications.
“Media freedom is not a toy. A free press is the cornerstone of democratic societies and a key tool in the fight against harmful disinformation.”
Stephane Dujarric, spokesman in New York for U.N. secretary-general Antonio Guterres, said the U.N. secretariat was “very disturbed by the arbitrary suspension of accounts of journalists.”
“Media voices should not be silenced on a platform that professes to be a space for freedom of speech,” Dujarric said. “From our standpoint, the move sets a dangerous precedent at a time when journalists all over the world are facing censorship, physical threats and even worse.”
In Brussels, the European Union’s commissioner for “values and transparency,” Vera Jourova, warned Musk that new E.U. legislation due to come into force next summer “requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights.”
“There are red lines,” Jourova tweeted. “And sanctions, soon.”
After he posted another of his polls, inviting Twitter users’ opinion on the suspensions, Musk agreed that the journalists’ accounts would be reinstated. (Of more than 3.6 million votes received, 58.7 percent called on Twitter to reinstate them immediately.)
U.N. high commissioner for human rights Volker Türk then weighed in, saying it was good news that the journalists’ accounts were being reinstated, but adding that “serious concerns remain.”
“Twitter has a responsibility to respect human rights: [Musk] should commit to making decision based on publicly-available policies that respect rights, including free speech,” said Türk. “Nothing less.”
Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and currently the world’s second-wealthiest person according to Forbes, bought Twitter for $44 billion. The purchase was finalized on October 27.
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