Elon Musk has announced his intention to resign as CEO of Twitter, an announcement that comes shortly after he conducted a straw poll where 57.5% of 17.5 million respondents voted he should go. The poll in itself was likely a smokescreen for decisions already made, with Musk's takeover of the platform mired from its beginnings in chaos, veering through legal action to completion, followed by mass firings and on-the-hoof policy changes.
This is in some ways an act of misdirection. Elon Musk owns Twitter and that is very unlikely to change in the short term. As this year has shown, the billionaire is not afraid to make unpopular decisions and wade into the mud-slinging aftermath, but many of his changes have been hasty, poorly implemented or rolled-back.
Musk's takeover was completed in October, since when about half of Twitter's workforce has been fired. His main audience-facing change to the site, paid-for verification in the form of Twitter's blue ticks, was launched, frozen, and recently re-launched. Some of his decisions are merely questionable while others, such as suspending journalists who cover Twitter in ways he doesn't like, are indefensible.
However personally impervious to criticism he may be, Musk has become as divisive a figure as the contemporary internet has: and it's not just randoms shouting about him on Twitter. The EU threatened Twitter with sanctions over the journalist suspensions, while in the wider world Musk's antics have focused enormous investor scrutiny on Tesla: shares in that company have fallen in value by 65% in the last year (part of which can be attributed to Musk selling a chunk of his own holding).
I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job! After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.December 21, 2022
CNBC reported that Musk has been on the search for his replacement for some time, which Musk replied to on Twitter with some laughing emojis. "No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive," Musk wrote after the poll had closed. "There is no successor."
Not true: MySpace Tom wants the job.
Naturally, speculation ranges from plausible candidates across big tech to Kermit the Frog and the return of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.
The big question for any candidate will be Musk's future role on the platform. He says he'll remain running key elements of it, and even before this whole saga began was a hugely popular and prolific Tweeter. There's also some part of his personality that clearly revels in playing the troll and annoying people, and Musk will ultimately still be in charge of the whole operation. This kind of sounds like a nightmare boss scenario.
Or to put it in plainer terms: this whole thing has been like watching a '00s forum mod tantrum.