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Elon Musk issued an apology and a poll asking whether he should step down as head of Twitter Sunday night after the company rolled out a new policy that will suspend accounts linked to some other platforms, a move that sparked backlash from individuals , including by some of Musk’s people. supporters.

Musk apologized after implementing the policy and wrote: Sorry. It won’t happen again.”

He then held a Twitter poll, polling users on whether he should step down. Musk was subject to past surveys, even though they were unscientific and unrepresentative.

“Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will obey the results of this survey.” he wrote: A little later he added: “As they say, be careful what you wish for, because you might get it.”

In Musk’s poll, respondents leaned heavily toward “Yes,” indicating that Musk should step down after about an hour of voting; 58 percent of the more than 3 million votes were in favor of him handing over the reins. The survey was due to be completed on Monday morning before the stock market opened, a period when shares of Tesla, the source of much of Musk’s net worth, fell. Investors say Musk’s departure from Twitter will improve Tesla’s outlook

Musk’s surprise reversal came after Twitter earlier announced it would begin suspending accounts linked to “prohibited platforms” such as Facebook and Instagram if those accounts were “used to promote content on another social platform for the primary purpose of for the purpose,” the statement said. Sunday.

It politicsTweets dated this month and tweeted after Sunday afternoon may be deleted from promoting accounts on some sites if users encourage their Twitter followers to join them elsewhere.

“At the Twitter and account level, we will remove any free advertising from prohibited third-party social media platforms,” ​​the policy states. It lists several examples of such social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram and Truth Social, which former President Donald Trump co-founder.

Musk’s ownership of Twitter, which he bought for $44 billion in October, has thrown the site into turmoil. He ousted the company’s executives and installed a team of loyalists, fired more than half the staff and rolled back Twitter’s content moderation. He engaged in misinformation as the site’s owner and hastily made new and confusing changes, causing controversy and alarming advertisers, some of whom stopped spending on the site.

His sudden and sometimes arbitrary decisions have been frowned upon by many of Twitter’s core users and employees, but also by some of his supporters, who have pushed for his ownership claim based on a “free speech” approach.

Already on Sunday, Musk appeared to be losing support from some people who had supported his leadership moves on Twitter about the new policy.

George Hotz, a software developer whom Musk hired to intern at the company after he tweeted excitedly about the business mogul’s takeover, tweeted a link to his Instagram account Sunday night.

“If it’s banned, this is not where I want to be anymore. It is far from freedom of speech,” he wrote in a tweet.

It was a far cry from just weeks ago, when Musk issued an ultimatum to Twitter employees, telling them to take on the “extremely hard” pace of building the new Twitter.

“This is the kind of attitude that creates incredible things. Let all those people who do not want greatness leave,” Hotz wrote.

Meanwhile, Twitter users criticized the suspension of Paul Graham, who praised Musk’s leadership but also promoted his Mastodon handle on Twitter, screenshots from the site showed.

“This is the last straw,” he wrote, according to screenshots posted on the site. Graham’s account was suspended shortly after.

That prompted many users, including NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, to weigh in. “This is bad policy and must be reversed,” he tweeted.

The moves put Musk on the defensive, and he appeared to respond to the backlash, a rare move for the Twitter leader since taking over in October.

“Paul’s account will be restored soon,” he tweeted.

Twitter has cut most of its public relations team since Musk took over the company in October, and Musk did not respond to emailed questions about the new rule earlier in the day.

Musk, the billionaire owner of Tesla and SpaceX, recently suspended and reinstated a number of high-profile journalists who he said violated Twitter’s rules.

Musk suspended the work of some Twitter journalists. But their friendship never left.

In the weeks since the Twitter sale was completed, Musk has abandoned enforcement of the site’s previous policies on hate speech and misinformation, in some cases resorting to unscientific polls to make decisions, such as the reinstatement of former President Donald Trump.

The new policy banning links to some other social media sites follows many prominent Twitter users promoting their alternate accounts, often expressing the view that staying on Twitter could become untenable as Musk overhauls the platform.

The company’s announcement on Sunday sparked debate over whether the move could create legal challenges for Twitter.

“This is the clearest statement of weakness I have ever seen from a major US technology platform and a clear statement of anti-competitive intent that GC would be on fire to prevent (if someone had that job at Twitter).” on Twitter Former Facebook security chief Alex Stamos, using the acronym “chief counsel.” He now directs Stanford’s Internet Observatory, a “research, teaching and policy program focused on the misuse of information technology,” according to its website.

In addition to linking to Facebook, Instagram and Truth Social, promotion on social media sites Mastodon, Tribel, Post and Nostr are restricted under a new Twitter policy announced earlier on Sunday. Third party link aggregators such as linktr.ee and lnk.bio are also prohibited. Listing a social media handle without a URL is not allowed.

Twitter has said that a first violation of this policy can range from requiring a tweet to be deleted to temporarily blocking an account. The account may be suspended if the violation is in the bio or account name, the company said. Further violations of the policy may result in permanent suspension.

Last week, Twitter abruptly suspended several high-profile journalists, including one from the Washington Post, after Musk claimed they had shared “basically the coordinates of an assassination” for him and his family; public flight data to track Musk’s private jet. Twitter allowed some of the journalists to return to the platform on Saturday.

Musk also suspended and then reinstated a second Post reporter this weekend.

“Again, the suspension came without warning, process or explanation, this time because our reporter was simply seeking comment from Musk for a story,” Washington Post executive editor Sally Buzby said Sunday. “Post journalists should be reinstated immediately, without arbitrary conditions.”

Musk was at the World Cup finals in Qatar on Sunday, tweeting from the game.

Katu Zakrzewski contributed to this report.



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