Billionaire Elon Musk on Monday said that only those who subscribe to Twitter Blue will be able to vote on policy-related polls that are put on the microblogging platform, Reuters reported.
Twitter Blue is a paid-for subscription that allows any user to buy a blue tick verified badge for their account.
Musk made the statement in response to a suggestion from a Twitter Blue subscriber. The subscriber had replied to a poll in which Musk had asked if he should step down as the chief of the microblogging platform. More than 10 million, or 57.5%, of the over 17 million users had voted in favour of Musk’s ouster.
The billionaire cannot be forcibly removed from the company as he owns majority shares. However, some of his recent decisions, such as banning an account that tracked the location of his private jet and mass suspension of critical journalists who reported on the ban has led to an exodus of users, according to The Guardian.
The users, including the user who ran the jet-tracking account, went to Twitter’s decentralised competitor Mastodon. Twitter also banned Mastodon for posting a link to the jet tracker’s account on Musk’s platform.
On Sunday, Musk banned links to other social networks, including Mastodon, Instagram, Facebook and Linktree, a homepage creation tool favoured by influencers, The Guardian reported.
He revoked the ban within 24 hours after floating a Twitter poll from the Twitter Safety account. After reinstating the links, Musk said that he will always seek a vote before making major policy changes.
Musk’s recent moves have also contravened his “free speech absolutist” stance.
After he announced his bid to buy the microblogging site, some human rights groups had expressed concern that such a stance on free speech could mean that Twitter might allow greater leeway to hate speech and misinformation, which may have an impact on offline violence.
On April 27, Musk had said: “By ‘free speech’, I simply mean that which matches the law. I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law.”
He had also criticised those who had questioned him, calling it an “extreme antibody reaction from those who fear free speech”.