Six months into his ownership of Twitter, Elon Musk says he’s done with the day-to-day management of the social media platform and will hand over control to someone else. The billionaire, who also runs electric car maker Tesla, has a number of other projects he’s working on and some investors in his other companies have urged him to spend less time at Twitter. Shares of Tesla jumped about 2% on Thursday after Musk’s tweet.
In his short tenure at the helm, Musk has reorganized Twitter’s top leadership and laid off around half of its staff. He has also upended the site’s verification system, rolled out new features including paid subscriptions for verified accounts and a “For You” newsfeed, and reinstated controversial accounts such as Donald Trump’s.
But it’s not just his mercurial leadership style that’s been a problem for Twitter. The company’s advertising business has been under pressure and it is only now starting to break even, according to an Insider Intelligence report last month. In a meeting with employees on June 16, Musk vowed to focus more on Twitter’s users and its long-term future. “The last thing I want to do is destroy Twitter,” he said.
Twitter has been criticized for its inability to police the site, which is flooded with fake and spam accounts. The company has promised to make changes this year that include a more automated approach to flagging spam and limiting the amount of time Twitter users can be on the platform.
During his tenure as CEO, Musk has made numerous proclamations and promises about the future of the site that he’s since backtracked on or never followed through on. He’s also been battling with the site’s engineering teams over new changes he’s pushed through. In one case, he paused a feature after it became rife with impersonators.
In a tweet thread on May 14, Musk says his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter is on hold because of concerns about spam and fake accounts. He asks Twitter to provide more details on how it measures these and says he would consider a lower purchase price. Twitter’s senior vice president of revenue, Parag Agrawal, explains in a subsequent tweet that they estimate fake and spam accounts make up less than 5% of the site’s total users. But Musk replies with a poop emoji and later says that Twitter is probably four to five times higher than that.
On Friday, Musk announced that NBCUniversal’s Linda Yaccarino will be Twitter’s new CEO and will focus on the company’s business operations. She has deep experience in the world of advertising, having worked at NBC for more than 12 years and overseeing a team that generated over $100 billion in sales, according to her LinkedIn profile. She is expected to be in the role by early next week.