Democracy in action or well-calculated decision? Elon Musk offered internet users, on the night of Sunday to Monday, to choose: “Should I leave my position as leader of Twitter? “. The votes were open until noon French time. And the majority opted for “yes” (57.5%).
Within hours of the vote going live, Elon Musk began threatening: “It’s not about finding a CEO, it’s about finding a CEO who can keep Twitter alive”, “Be careful what you wish, because it could happen”. He even explains that “no one wants the job keeping Twitter alive. There is no successor”.
Is the billionaire in a panic? Far from there. Since he bought Twitter, his decisions and their consequences have caused a lot of noise. Between experiments and rule changes, users get lost in the novelties. Like the blue certification badge. Having become paying, it is now accompanied by certifications in several colors…
Many decisions come to worsen the crisis of confidence. Last week, Elon Musk closed the account of @ElonJet and about 20 other accounts following billionaires’ private jets. Shortly after, Twitter amended its rules to retroactively justify this decision, now banning “real-time location sharing”. However, he had assured in early November that this type of account would never be banned. At the same time, Musk has closed the accounts of journalists, whom he accuses of doxxing (disclosing personal data for malicious purposes). This provoked the ire in particular of the United Nations and the European Union, threatening him with sanctions.
On Sunday, as the culmination of this crazy week, he announced that he would ban users from posting links to competing social networks, such as Facebook, Mastodon or Instagram.
Musk never planned to run Twitter
Faced with so many outcry, it seems logical that Internet users vote for his departure as leader. However, Elon Musk, who poses as the defender of freedom of expression, is careful not to remind Internet users of certain points. Starting with the fact that he never wanted to remain leader of Twitter.
During the trial over his golden parachute at Tesla (he has not received a salary since 2012 but has, in compensation, obtained shares estimated at 52 billion dollars), Elon Musk declared under oath in mid-November that he did not want to be the leader “of any company, frankly”. In particular from the social network: “I intend to spend less and less time there and find someone to lead Twitter in the long term”.
Another point not raised, the cost of Twitter, both literally and figuratively. The boss of Tesla and SpaceX lives thanks to his stock market actions, and he reminds him regularly. Elon Musk knows full well that his tweets can influence stock market values. And he took advantage of it, financially.
The takeover, however, caused a stir, Elon Musk had even tried to cancel the takeover of Twitter, overvalued at $44 billion. Which turned out to be legally impossible. Cornered, he had to pay.
Tesla heavily impacted
His decisions as “Head of Twitter” are increasingly impacting his other companies, Tesla and SpaceX. Thus the escapades of the past week caused Tesla shares to fall on the stock market, to the lowest value reached in 52 weeks, recalls The Verge : 150 dollars per share, or 50% loss in one year.
Mechanically, this loss of value has reduced the estimate of Elon Musk’s fortune. Thus the richest man in the world became the French Bernard Arnault (boss of LVMH) and his family. The American weighs “more than” 163 billion, half less than last year.
But above all, it’s all of Tesla and, in fact, the foundations of its empire that are weakened by Twitter. One of the majority shareholders of Tesla, KoGuan Leo, self-proclaimed “fan of Elon”, threw a little bomb : “Elon abandoned Tesla” and “Tesla no longer has a leader”. And to add: “I hope that Elon will quickly find a new leader for Twitter”. What panic the market, shareholders and employees.
As for SpaceX, sites evoke a malaise at NASA in particular, dependent on public funding. If sanctions are imposed on Elon Musk, can the contracts continue without a hitch?
For the record, the billionaire had embarked on the acquisition of Twitter … after a vote on the social network. Leaving the leadership on a vote therefore seems to come full circle. For now at least. Because, Musk keeps reminding us that the platform is “on the fast track to bankruptcy”, like this Sunday in a response to computer scientist Lex Fridman. Is he waving it to scare? Or to prepare a resale? We haven’t finished hearing the blue bird sing.
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Internet. Elon Musk puts his place as “head of Twitter” to the vote: democracy or staging?
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