Nov 18, 2022 - Economy & Business

Musk caps chaotic Week 3 at Twitter with Trump poll

Photo: Muhammed Selim Korkutata / Anadolu Agency

Elon Musk capped off another chaotic week leading Twitter by posting a 24-hour "poll" Friday night asking his followers to vote yes or no on whether the company should reinstate former President Trump's account.

The latest: More than 1 million votes were cast within the first 30 minutes of the tweet's posting. Musk then added a second message reading "Vox Populi, Vox Dei" — Latin for "the voice of the people is the voice of God."

  • At the time of this writing the votes were roughly 60% in favor.

Why it matters: Musk has a history of using informal pop surveys to win buy-in for plans he likely would have made regardless.

  • Earlier in the day, Musk took to Twitter to say the platform would start deemphasizing "hate" or "negative" tweets while announcing that Kathy Griffin, Jordan Peterson and Babylon Bee were reinstated and that a decision hadn't been made yet about former President Trump's account.
  • Musk originally said he wouldn't make any new content moderation decisions until a new "content moderation council" with "diverse views" convenes, Axios' Dan Primack reported.
  • To date, he hasn't publicly disclosed whether that council exists or if it has met.
  • Trump has said he wouldn't return if his ban lifted.

Zoom out: On Friday, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth shared why he left the company in a New York Times Op-Ed piece: “A Twitter whose policies are defined by unilateral edict has little need for a trust and safety function dedicated to its principled development.”

Other developments this week: More resignations, public chaos and a Twitter funeral for Twitter defined the company's third week under Musk.

  • Hundreds of employees, including key workers who fix bugs and prevent service outages, reportedly resigned from the company following Musk's ultimatum for workers to "recommit."
  • There were also mixed messages to employees about whether they should report to the company's office in San Francisco, where someone projected words like "#StopToxicTwitter" on the outside of the building.
  • On Thursday, there were at least two Twitter Spaces — the platform's live audio feature — held by and for employees and Twitter super users to reflect on their time working for or using Twitter.

The big picture: It's become difficult to track the upheaval at Twitter, which has seen a jump in traffic since Musk's takeover.

  • Reporters are tweeting out scoops almost instantaneously about the platform on the platform, while the company's chief executive has been actively tweeting out memes, updates and questions to users.
  • "And … we just hit another all-time high in Twitter usage lol," Musk tweeted Thursday night.

Hope's thought bubble: Listening to Twitter employees talk about their time at Twitter last night, one thing was clear — they all really cared about the company's mission.

  • And during the late night confab, made up with many journalists, it's clear that part of the joy of Twitter is also the chaos that's always existed on the platform.
  • Employees seemed optimistic about their own futures — that companies will now benefit from a new batch of talented tech workers — while active Twitter users and journalists mused about how much they've benefitted from the platform bringing people from different parts of the world together.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect Musk's Friday night tweet polling users about reinstating President Trump.


Go deeper