Stock

: Ballot exhibits Twitter customers favor elimination of Elon Musk, sending shares of Tesla larger

About 17.5 million Twitter votes were cast in favor of Elon Musk stepping down from the company, Musk’s Twitter account said Monday, a day after he posed the question to users of the social media platform.

The news sent shares of Tesla Inc.
TSLA,
-4.72%
higher on hopes that Musk will refocus his attention on the electric car company he also heads up.

Musk has been running Twitter for 53 days, during which time he’s laid off a large percentage of the company’s workforce and drawn criticism recently for suspending the accounts of four journalists and then reinstating them.

Additionally, on Sunday, Twitter announced it would ban accounts that post links or usernames for certain “prohibited” third-party social media platforms, only to seemingly rescind the rule about 12 hours later after it stirred more controversy.

Musk then Musk posted a poll asking whether he should resign as CEO and said he would “abide by the results.” The final poll showed that nearly more than 57% of voters wanted him to leave his position.

“As the saying goes, be careful what you wish, as you might get it,” Musk tweeted, adding that “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.”

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives reiterated an outperform rating on Tesla
TSLA,
-4.72%,
the electric car company that Musk runs, and said it’s “time to end this nightmare” with Musk in charge of Twitter.

“With the poll closing this morning, it appears Musk’s reign as CEO of Twitter will come to end and thus be a major positive for Tesla’s stock starting to slowly remove this albatross from the story,” Ives said in a reseach note.

Shares of Tesla rose 3.1% in premarket trades on Monday.

Earlier, in a blog post, Twitter said cross-promoted posts will still be allowed, but that “Accounts that are used for the main purpose of promoting content on another social platform may be suspended.” It did not specify how it will decide what an account’s main purpose is, but provided examples of banned content, such as: “follow me @username on Instagram,” “username@mastodon.social,” and “check out my profile on Facebook – facebook.com/username.”

“We will no longer allow free promotion of certain social media platforms on Twitter,” Musk’s company said in a Sunday morning tweet thread posted as much of the world was watching the World Cup final. “Specifically, we will remove accounts 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.”

The new policy triggered an immediate flurry of criticism by many Twitter users, with some saying it was capricious and arbitrary, and another example of Musk changing Twitter’s rules without notice to fit his whims.

In a reply to Twitter’s announcement, former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who once called Musk “the singular solution I trust” to run the company, said: “Doesn’t make sense.”

Musk later clarified the rule, saying in a tweet: “Policy will be adjusted to suspending accounts only when that account’s *primary* purpose is promotion of competitors, which essentially falls under the no spam rule,” and adding that “Going forward, there will be a vote for major policy changes. My apologies. Won’t happen again.”

Musk said in a November court hearing he hoped to “find someone else to run Twitter over time.”

In a tweet Sunday, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said: “If Musk leaves as Twitter CEO and appoints someone else (social media background ideal) this would be a major positive for Tesla shares as the Twitter overhang would be significantly reduced clearly in our opinion.”

Musk has reveled in battling U.S. regulators for years, and the short-lived new ban on links appears to have been in direct violation of the European Union’s new Digital Markets Act, set to take effect in May 2023, which will ban “gatekeeper” platforms from preventing consumers from linking to businesses outside their platforms. Penalties include fines of as much as 20% of the company’s annual revenue.

Sunday’s moves came after a number of prominent tech journalists were suspended, then reinstated, last week for reporting on Twitter’s ban on an account that tracked Musk’s private jet.

While Musk, who completed his $44 billion takeover of the company in October, has called himself a free-speech absolutist, many of his policies as Twitter’s owner and CEO have been to silence his critics.

Amid the chaos of his tenure at Twitter, Musk’s other major company, Tesla Inc.
TSLA,
-4.72%,
has seen its stock suffer; on Friday, shares wrapped up their worst week since 2020, and a prominent Tesla investor called on Musk to step down as CEO, saying he has “abandoned” the electric-vehicle maker.

Steve Gelsi contributed to this report.

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