Elon Musk’s Twitter Poll Shows Users Want Him to Step Down as CEO | Kanebridge News
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Elon Musk’s Twitter Poll Shows Users Want Him to Step Down as CEO

After billionaire asks on social-media platform whether he should stay or go, 57.5% of respondents say he should go

Tue, Dec 20, 2022 9:00amGrey Clock 3 min

Elon Musk should step down as chief of Twitter Inc., according to a poll the billionaire orchestrated and pledged to follow, casting new uncertainty on the social-media platform after more than seven weeks of turmoil since he took it over.

More than 17 million Twitter users had voted by the time the poll on the platform closed after 6 a.m. ET, with 57.5% saying he should leave as head of the company. Mr. Musk, who in October closed a $44 billion deal for Twitter, had said when he launched the Twitter poll on Sunday that he would abide by the results.

It isn’t clear who would take over leading Twitter if Mr. Musk steps aside as CEO, or what his role would be, given that he still owns the company. Most of the company’s prior leadership was either fired or left after he took over.

“No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor,” Mr. Musk tweeted Sunday.

Twitter didn’t respond to a question on the poll’s outcome.

The billionaire’s leadership at Twitter has been tumultuous and weighed on sentiment toward his other businesses, particularly car maker Tesla. Shares in the auto maker have fallen more than 56% this year, frustrating some retail investors who partly blame Mr. Musk’s focus on Twitter for the decline. Mr. Musk’s Twitter involvement also has dented Tesla’s brand image.

Tesla shares initially advanced Monday following the suggestion that Mr. Musk would stop running Twitter, though later fell along with the broader market.

There have been questions since Mr. Musk first showed interest in buying Twitter how he would juggle running the company while also pursuing all his other endeavours.

Bill Nelson, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s administrator, this month said he had asked SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell if Twitter would divert from the rocket company’s mission. “She assured me that it would not be a distraction,” Mr. Nelson said.

Mr. Musk said last month that he had too much work on his plate.

“I expect to reduce my time at Twitter and find somebody else to run Twitter over time,” he testified at a trial about his Tesla pay package last month. He also said he has been spending most of his time of late focusing on Twitter. At the time, he wrote on Twitter, “I will continue to run Twitter until it is in a strong place, which will take some time.”

The outcome of the poll adds another disruption at the top of Twitter, which has suffered waves of leadership upheaval. Co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey handed over running the company little over a year ago after a bruising battle with an activist investor. His successor, Parag Agrawal, lasted less than a year and was fired by Mr. Musk immediately after he took over the company in October. Mr. Musk also ousted several other top Twitter executives, and more have resigned since.

Mr. Musk has been the driving force at Twitter for nearly two dramatic months, with many advertisers having paused spending, resignations, and content-moderation actions that have been abrupt and controversial among many users. This past week has been another one full of twists. Twitter suspended the accounts of several journalists, prompting criticism from some lawmakers and officials before Mr. Musk said Saturday that Twitter would begin reinstating the accounts.

Earlier Sunday, Twitter made another sudden change to its content-moderation rules, saying it would no longer allow “free promotion of certain social media platforms.” That also fuelled criticism and questions, including from Mr. Dorsey, who previously endorsed Mr. Musk’s takeover. “Doesn’t make sense,” Mr. Dorsey tweeted Sunday.

Late Sunday, the tweets from @TwitterSupport and a note on the company’s website announcing the policy against promoting other social-media platforms appeared to have been deleted. Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, said Monday that the company removed the new policy “in response to user feedback.” Ms. Irwin said that links to other social-media sites will be allowed until Twitter determines whether or not to implement a new policy prohibiting them.

Mr. Musk, who has said he intends to make the platform a bastion of free speech, appeared to acknowledge some concerns about the recent, abrupt content policy changes. “Going forward, there will be a vote for major policy changes. My apologies. Won’t happen again,” he tweeted shortly before posting the poll about his leadership Sunday.

Mr. Musk has warned about Twitter’s financial condition, saying last month that the company had suffered “a massive drop in revenue” and was losing over $4 million a day. He later raised the possibility of bankruptcy.

Mr. Musk’s team this past week reached out for potential fresh investment for Twitter at the same price as the original $44 billion deal, a Twitter investor said.

Some Tesla shareholders have complained that Mr. Musk’s recent focus on Twitter is hurting the auto maker. This month he sold more than $3.5 billion of Tesla stock in his second round of sales since buying Twitter. It wasn’t clear what prompted Mr. Musk to sell additional Tesla stock.

Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Sunday sent a letter to Tesla’s board chair, Robyn Denholm, raising questions about Mr. Musk’s involvement with Twitter, suggesting it could be to the detriment of the auto maker’s shareholders and create conflicts of interest. The senator has sparred before with Mr. Musk.

Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment about the share sale or the senator’s letter.

—Peter Stiff contributed to this article.


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At the World Plogging Championship, contestants have lugged in tires, TVs and at least one Neapolitan coffee maker

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GENOA, Italy—Renato Zanelli crossed the finish line with a rusty iron hanging from his neck while pulling 140 pounds of trash on an improvised sled fashioned from a slab of plastic waste.

Zanelli, a retired IT specialist, flashed a tired smile, but he suspected his garbage haul wouldn’t be enough to defend his title as world champion of plogging—a sport that combines running with trash collecting.

A rival had just finished the race with a chair around his neck and dragging three tires, a television and four sacks of trash. Another crossed the line with muscles bulging, towing a large refrigerator. But the strongest challenger was Manuel Jesus Ortega Garcia, a Spanish plumber who arrived at the finish pulling a fridge, a dishwasher, a propane gas tank, a fire extinguisher and a host of other odds and ends.

“The competition is intense this year,” said Zanelli. Now 71, he used his fitness and knack for finding trash to compete against athletes half his age. “I’m here to help the environment, but I also want to win.”

Italy, a land of beauty, is also a land of uncollected trash. The country struggles with chronic littering, inefficient garbage collection in many cities, and illegal dumping in the countryside of everything from washing machines to construction waste. Rome has become an emblem of Italy’s inability to fix its trash problem.

So it was fitting that at the recent World Plogging Championship more than 70 athletes from 16 countries tested their talents in this northern Italian city. During the six hours of the race, contestants collect points by racking up miles and vertical distance, and by carrying as much trash across the finish line as they can. Trash gets scored based on its weight and environmental impact. Batteries and electronic equipment earn the most points.

A mobile app ensures runners stay within the race’s permitted area, approximately 12 square miles. Athletes have to pass through checkpoints in the rugged, hilly park. They are issued gloves and four plastic bags to fill with garbage, and are also allowed to carry up to three bulky finds, such as tires or TVs.

Genoa, a gritty industrial port city in the country’s mountainous northwest, has a trash problem that gets worse the further one gets away from its relatively clean historic core. The park that hosted the plogging championship has long been plagued by garbage big and small.

“It’s ironic to have the World Plogging Championship in a country that’s not always as clean as it could be. But maybe it will help bring awareness and things will improve,” said Francesco Carcioffo, chief executive of Acea Pinerolese Industriale, an energy and recycling company that’s been involved in sponsoring and organizing the race since its first edition in 2021. All three world championships so far have been held in Italy.

Events that combine running and trash-collecting go back to at least 2010. The sport gained traction about seven years ago when a Swede, Erik Ahlström, coined the name plogging, a mashup of plocka upp, Swedish for “pick up,” and jogging.

“If you don’t have a catchy name you might as well not exist,” said Roberto Cavallo, an Italian environmental consultant and longtime plogger, who is on the world championship organizing committee together with Ahlström.

Saturday’s event brought together a mix of wiry trail runners and environmental activists, some of whom looked less like elite athletes.

“We like plogging because it makes us feel a little less guilty about the way things are going with the environment,” said Elena Canuto, 29, as she warmed up before the start. She came in first in the women’s ranking two years ago. “This year I’m taking it a bit easier because I’m three months pregnant.”

Around two-thirds of the contestants were Italians. The rest came from other European countries, as well as Japan, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Algeria, Ghana and Senegal.

“I hope to win so people in Senegal get enthusiastic about plogging,” said Issa Ba, a 30-year-old Senegalese-born factory worker who has lived in Italy for eight years.

“Three, two, one, go,” Cavallo shouted over a loudspeaker, and the athletes sprinted off in different directions. Some stopped 20 yards from the starting line to collect their first trash. Others took off to be the first to exploit richer pickings on wooded hilltops, where batteries and home appliances lay waiting.

As the hours went by, the athletes crisscrossed trails and roads, their bags became heavier. They tagged their bulky items and left them at roadsides for later collection. Contestants gathered at refreshment points, discussing what they had found as they fueled up on cookies and juice. Some contestants had brought their own reusable cups.

With 30 minutes left in the race, athletes were gathering so much trash that the organisers decided to tweak the rules: in addition to their four plastic bags, contestants could carry six bulky objects over the finish line rather than three.

“I know it’s like changing the rules halfway through a game of Monopoly, but I know I can rely on your comprehension,” Cavallo announced over the PA as the athletes braced for their final push to the finish line.

The rule change meant some contestants could almost double the weight of their trash, but others smelled a rat.

“That’s fantastic that people found so much stuff, but it’s not really fair to change the rules at the last minute,” said Paul Waye, a Dutch plogging evangelist who had passed up on some bulky trash because of the three-item rule.

Senegal will have to wait at least a year to have a plogging champion. Two hours after the end of Saturday’s race, Ba still hadn’t arrived at the finish line.

“My phone ran out of battery and I got lost,” Ba said later at the awards ceremony. “I’ll be back next year, but with a better phone.”

The race went better for Canuto. She used an abandoned shopping cart to wheel in her loot. It included a baby stroller, which the mother-to-be took as a good omen. Her total haul weighed a relatively modest 100 pounds, but was heavy on electronic equipment, which was enough for her to score her second triumph.

“I don’t know if I’ll be back next year to defend my title. The baby will be six or seven months old,” she said.

In the men’s ranking, Ortega, the Spanish plumber, brought in 310 pounds of waste, racked up more than 16 miles and climbed 7,300 feet to run away with the title.

Zanelli, the defending champion, didn’t make it onto the podium. He said he would take solace from the nearly new Neapolitan coffee maker he found during the first championship two years ago. “I’ll always have my victory and the coffee maker, which I polished and now display in my home,” he said.

Contestants collected more than 6,600 pounds of trash. The haul included fridges, bikes, dozens of tires, baby seats, mattresses, lead pipes, stoves, chairs, TVs, 1980s-era boomboxes with cassettes still inside, motorcycle helmets, electric fans, traffic cones, air rifles, a toilet and a soccer goal.

“This park hasn’t been this clean since the 15 century,” said Genoa’s ambassador for sport, Roberto Giordano.


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