Elon Musk asked Twitter users Sunday if he should step down as head of the social media site. More than 17 million votes were cast and delivered a clear verdict: 57.5 percent said he should quit, in a Twitter “poll” that closed after 12 hours on Monday.
Mr. Musk had said that he would abide by the results of the vote. After voting ended there was no immediate response from Mr. Musk on Twitter.
If he follows through, Mr. Musk would be handing over the reins of the company that he bought for $44 billion in late October. The turbulent weeks since then have been marked by mass layoffs at the company, falling advertising sales, executive resignations and various high-profile user accounts suspended for infractions of newly invented policy.
On Sunday, Twitter announced a policy to prevent users from sharing links and user names from other social platforms, like Instagram, Facebook and Mastodon, and then apparently curtailed the same policy.
But for some users, including former supporters of Mr. Musk, the chaotic weekend was a breaking point.
Mr. Musk’s latest actions with Twitter were “the last straw,” Paul Graham, a founder of the start-up accelerator Y Combinator, tweeted on Sunday. Mr. Graham had supported Mr. Musk’s takeover, but on Sunday he wrote, “I give up. You can find a link to my new Mastodon profile on my site.” His account was briefly suspended.
Last week, Twitter suspended about two dozen accounts that tracked the locations of private planes, including one that followed Mr. Musk’s private jet, justifying the decision with a new policy that banned accounts if they shared another person’s “live location.” The accounts of some journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other outlets, were also suspended last week, seemingly under the same policy, and then reinstated after Mr. Musk asked users if they should be allowed back. Fifty-nine percent responded yes, in a Twitter “poll” with 3.7 million votes.
After asking users whether he should stay on as chief executive of Twitter, Mr. Musk said in another tweet: “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.”
There are signs that Mr. Musk’s ownership and focus on Twitter are interfering with his other business ventures. Since Mr. Musk acquired Twitter, the value of Tesla has sunk. The car company’s share price was $225 on Oct. 27, the day Mr. Musk completed the acquisition of Twitter. On Friday, Tesla shares closed at $150.
Last week, Mr. Musk disclosed that he had sold another $3.6 billion worth of Tesla stock. This year, Mr. Musk has now sold $23 billion worth of Tesla stock, much of it after he pledged in April to stop selling shares to finance his Twitter deal.
“Attention focused on Twitter instead of golden child Tesla has been another big issue for investors and likely is behind this poll result with many Musk loyalists wanting him to leave as C.E.O. of Twitter,” analysts Daniel Ives and John Katsingris at Wedbush Securities wrote in a note published shortly before the Twitter vote closed.
Musk’s resignation from Twitter would be “a major step forward,” they added, with the billionaire finally realizing that there has been “growing frustration around this Twitter nightmare that grows worse by the day.”
On Monday, Tesla shares rose 3.4 percent in premarket trading to about $155.
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