Elon Musk starts Twitter poll on whether to bring back Trump

Nov 18 (Reuters) – Elon Musk launched a Twitter poll late on Friday asking followers to vote on whether former U.S. President Donald Trump’s account should be reinstated on the platform, with early results showing that around 60% voted yes.

“Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted, a Latin phrase roughly meaning “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” Voting was open for 24 hours.

Musk, Twitter’s new owner, said in May that he would lift Twitter’s ban on Trump, whose account was suspended after last year’s attack on the US capital.

Musk said earlier in the day that a decision to bring back Trump’s account had not yet been made, and that Twitter had reinstated some controversial accounts that had been banned or suspended, including satirical website Babylon Bee and comedian Kathy Griffin.

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 Friday to remaining employees seen by Reuters, Musk asked those writing software code to report to the 10th floor of Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters 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 there in person,” adding that he would be in the office until midnight and would return Saturday morning.

He asked employees to email him a summary of what their software code has “accomplished” in the past six months, “along with up to 10 screenshots of the most significant lines of code.”

“There will be short, technical interviews that will allow me to better understand the Twitter technology stack,” Musk wrote in one of the emails, asking engineers to report at 2 p.m. 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 employees sign up for “long, high-intensity hours.”

The exodus adds to the change and chaos that has 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, and is wresting control from a regulator.

A White House official also weighed in, saying Twitter should tell Americans how the company protected their data.

Tech website Platformer reported Friday that Robin Wheeler, the company’s senior ad sales manager, had been fired.

Wheeler, who told employees in a memo last week that she was staying, tweeted Friday, “To the team and my clients … you were always my first and only priority,” with a greeting emoji that has been adopted as a dispatch for departing employees.

Twitter told employees Thursday it would close its offices and cut badge access until Monday, according to two sources. Reuters could not immediately confirm whether the headquarters reopened.

By Friday afternoon, the company had begun 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 planned to close one of Twitter’s three main U.S. data centers, 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 coming economic downturn.” He also said: “We are also changing the Twitter policy so that telecommuting 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.

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Sheila Dang; Additional reporting by Katie Paul; Written by Sheila Dang and Katie Paul; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, David Gregorio, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Daniel Wallis, Sayantani Ghosh and Gerry Doyle

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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