Twitter owner Elon Musk started a Twitter poll late on Friday asking followers to vote on whether to reinstate former US President Donald Trump’s account on the platform, just hours after saying he had not yet decided on whether to lift the ban on Donald Trump.
“Reinstate former President Trump,” the billionaire Twitter owner posted, with a chance to vote either yes or no.
As of 2:42 PST, 52.8 per cent of the over 8.1 million responses were in favor of a return of the former president, who was banned from Twitter for his role in last year’s attack on the US Capitol by a mob seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
In May, Musk had stated that he would reverse Twitter’s ban on Trump. However, there was no indication that the mercurial boss of Space-X and Tesla would adhere to the results of the ad hoc poll.
But on Friday, he also posted a Latin adage suggesting that the decision would be up to Twitter users: “Vox Populi, Vox Dei” (The voice of the people is the voice of God).
He has done similar polls in the past, asking followers last year if he should sell stock in his electric car company Tesla. Following that poll, he sold more than $1 billion in shares.
Trump, who reveled in using Twitter as a mouthpiece, was followed by more than 88 million users. He has said he will not return to the popular platform but would instead remain on his own network, Truth Social, launched after he was banned from Twitter.
Musk’s decision to ask Twitter users for guidance on who should be on the platform is part of a huge restructuring of the company, including massive layoffs.
In a memo on Friday to remaining employees, Musk asked those who write software code to report to the 10th floor of Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco by early afternoon.
The billionaire said in a follow-up email: “If possible, I would appreciate it if you could fly to SF to be present in person,” adding he would be at the office until midnight and would return Saturday morning.
He asked employees to email him a summary of what their software code has “achieved” in the past six months, “along with up to 10 screenshots of the most salient lines of code.”
“There will be short, technical interviews that allow me to better understand the Twitter tech stack,” Musk wrote in one of the emails, and asked engineers to report at 2pm on Friday.
The emails came a day after hundreds of Twitter employees were estimated to have decided to leave the beleaguered social media company following a Thursday deadline from Musk that staffers sign up for “long hours at high intensity.”
The exodus adds to the change and chaos that have marked Musk’s first three weeks as Twitter’s owner. He has fired top management including former CEO Parag Agarwal and senior officials in charge of security and privacy, drawing scrutiny from a regulator.
A White House official also weighed in, saying Twitter should tell Americans how the company was protecting their data.
Tech website Platformer reported on Friday that Robin Wheeler, the company’s top ad sales executive, had been fired.
Wheeler, who told employees in a memo last week that she was staying, tweeted on Friday: “To the team and my clients…you were always my first and only priority”, with a salute emoji that has been adopted as a send-off for departing employees.
Twitter told employees on Thursday that it would close its offices and cut badge access until Monday, according to two sources. Reuters could not immediately confirm whether the headquarters reopened.
On Friday afternoon, the company had started cutting off access to company systems for some of the employees who had declined to accept Musk’s offer, three people told Reuters.
Another source said the company was planning to shut down one of Twitter’s three main US data centres, at the SMF1 facility near Sacramento, to save costs.
In his first email to Twitter employees this month, Musk warned that Twitter may not be able to “survive the upcoming economic downturn.” He also said, “We are also changing Twitter policy such that remote work is no longer allowed unless you have a specific exception.”
Amid the changes, Moody’s withdrew its B1 credit rating for Twitter, saying it had insufficient information to maintain the rating.