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Elon Musk’s Twitter investigation will determine whether the Tesla mogul remains Twitter boss


SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter’s future under Elon Musk hangs in the balance Monday morning, as a poll will determine whether the tech mogul will remain CEO of the social media site he bought for $44 billion.

Late Sunday, Musk launched a Twitter poll asking his 122 million followers, “Should I step down as head of Twitter?” He said he would follow the results and later added, “As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for, because you might get it.”

The billionaire self-proclaimed “Chief Twit” bought the company for $44 billion in October and made himself CEO. Since then, it has become a frequent theme of his tweets, and employees have said he has been a regular presence at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.

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But it has raised concerns among investors – especially in Tesla – that the entrepreneur is spreading himself too thin. Some have questioned his effectiveness as the CEO of two major technology companies, wondering if he can effectively serve in both roles simultaneously in addition to being the head of the rocket company SpaceX.

Adding fuel to the fire, Musk has been known to run polls to confirm decisions he has already made, perhaps most famously when he asked Twitter if he should sell his 10 percent stake in Tesla. Later, filings showed that Musk had already adopted a trading plan, which at least partially called the vote into question.

Musk and Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday night.

Musk has made a number of changes on Twitter, where he has said a top priority is fixing the company’s code. He laid off about half of the company’s 7,500 employees and issued an ultimatum a hardcore culture that drove hundreds to leave, changing Twitter’s rules on the fly and relying on polls — including the reinstatement of former President Donald Trump.

It’s not immediately clear how much will change if Musk steps down as CEO, given that he will still own the company, along with his co-investors.

Musk has previously signaled that he did not plan to be in charge of Twitter in the long term. He testified in Delaware court last month that he planned to find someone else to run Twitter and reduce his time at the company. He took the stand in response to a Tesla shareholder lawsuit, which claimed he was overpaid for his work in a 2018 compensation package from the automaker while splitting his time between several other companies

The unscientific and unrepresentative poll regarding Musk’s leadership came after a whirlwind week for Musk. Tesla’s share price fell about 15 percent last week, capping a dismal performance in recent months, as some investors asked him to step aside from the leadership of one of his companies to better focus.

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On Wednesday, Musk abruptly suspended an account that tracked his private jet by drawing on publicly available data. He followed that the next day by suspending journalists who had apparently tweeted about it – accusing them of posting “basically assassination coordinates” for him and his family. Musk launched a poll on Thursday in which users voted to reinstate the banned ones.

On Sunday, as Musk tweeted from the World Cup final, watching alongside former Trump adviser Jared Kushner, Twitter adopted new rules banning users from repeatedly promoting rival social media sites on the site, calling “free promotion” against the rules. Hordes of users, including some of Musk’s own supporters, dismissed the new policy as draconian, despite Musk’s promise to restore what he called “free speech” to the site.

Musk’s new policy also banned the promotion of Facebook, Instagram and the app Truth Social, which was co-founded by Trump.

Musk issued a rare apology on Sunday after Twitter adopted new rules banning users from repeatedly promoting rival social media sites on the site, and said he would put future policy decisions to a vote.

Later that night, @TwitterSafety tweeted a poll asking, “Should we have a policy that prevents the creation or use of existing accounts for the primary purpose of advertising other social media platforms?”

The tweets and page detailing the new policy banning content from external networks also appeared to have been deleted.

Musk’s poll on his leadership was set to expire early Monday morning, before the opening of trading on Wall Street, where Tesla has lost half of its more than $1 trillion valuation since the spring.

Elon Musk’s role at Tesla is being questioned as Twitter occupies his attention

“Those who want power are those who least deserve it,” Musk tweeted late Sunday, as millions of users voted and the vote went against his resignation.

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