20 July, 2024
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Musk polls if he should step down from Twitter


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Elon Musk has asked Twitter’s users to decide if he should remain in charge of the social media platform after acknowledging he made a mistake in launching speech restrictions that sought to ban mentions of rival social media platforms.

Mr Musk’s latest poll of users came just hours after yet another drastic policy change.

Twitter announced early on Monday (AEDT) that users would no longer be able to link to Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon and other platforms the company described as “prohibited.”

But the move generated so much immediate criticism, including from past defenders of Twitter’s new billionaire owner, that Mr Musk promised not to make any more major policy changes without an online survey of users.

“My apologies. Won’t happen again,” he tweeted, before launching a new 12-hour poll asking if he should step down as head of Twitter.

“Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll,” it reads.

The incident was Mr Musk’s latest attempt to crack down on certain speech after he shut down a Twitter account last week that was tracking the flights of his private jet.

The banned platforms included mainstream websites such as Facebook and Instagram, and upstart rivals Mastodon, Tribel, Nostr, Post and former US president Donald Trump’s Truth Social. Twitter gave no explanation for why the blacklist included those seven websites but not others such as Parler, TikTok or LinkedIn.

Twitter said it would at least temporarily suspend accounts that included the banned websites in their profile. However, the practice is so widespread that it’s not clear if – or how – the company planned to enforce the restrictions on Twitter’s millions of users around the world.

As of 11.35am AEDT on Monday, Mr Musk’s poll had more than 4.3 million votes. The Yes vote had 58 per cent, the No vote 42.

Last week, Twitter disbanded its Trust and Safety Council, a volunteer group formed in 2016 to advise the social media platform on site decisions.

The policy change follows other chaotic actions at Twitter since Mr Musk bought the social network. He fired top management and laid off about half of of the platform’s workforce, while seesawing on how much to charge for Twitter’s subscription service Twitter Blue.

Late last week, Mr Musk also suspended the accounts of several journalists amid controversy over the ban on the account tracking his private plane.

He reinstated the accounts after criticism from government officials, advocacy groups and journalism organisations from several parts of the globe on Friday, with some saying the microblogging platform was jeopardising press freedom.

-with AAP

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