Elon Musk suggested on Monday evening that only paying users should get to vote on the platform’s policies, one day after he lost a Twitter poll asking if he should remain as the social media company’s CEO.
“Twitter will make that change,” Musk tweeted, in a reply to a user suggesting that only those who pay for the platform should be allowed to vote. The policy change could be a way for Musk to walk back his pledge to respect the results of his poll, released Sunday evening, on whether he should stay as CEO.
Musk has posted Twitter polls in advance of some policy changes, such as before offering a “general amnesty” to accounts suspended before he took over the social media company.
But only allowing paying subscribers to vote on Twitter’s future could disenfranchise millions of international users, due to Twitter Blue’s limited global availability.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Recent surveys have not gone Musk’s way. Last Thursday, Twitter suspended the accounts of Mastodon and several tech journalists. Musk claimed the accounts had shared his location information in real-time (which he described as “assassination coordinates” in a tweet).
Musk released a poll asking how long users suspended for “doxxing” should wait before Twitter reinstated their accounts. A majority of users in two consecutive polls said that Twitter should unban accounts immediately. Twitter has since reinstated the suspended accounts.
Then, on Sunday, Musk promised to survey users before making major policy changes. His pledge came after the social media company was blasted for introducing a new rule barring users from sharing links to competing social media platforms, like Instagram or Facebook.
Musk then asked users to vote on whether he should step down as CEO. The survey attracted 17.5 million votes, 57.5% of which asked Musk to resign as the company’s head.
Elon Musk may be looking for reasons to dismiss the results of the poll, replying “interesting” to one user who suggested, without evidence, that bots voted in the survey.
Who gets access to Twitter Blue
After Musk suggested that only Twitter Blue customers could vote, users made reference to the “poll tax,” or a tax where people pay a flat fee to the government, regardless of wealth or income. U.S. state governments often used poll taxes to suppress the voting rights of Black Americans, before the U.S. banned the practice in 1964 through the Twenty-fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Restricting votes to just Twitter Blue subscribers excludes millions of users who do not yet have access to the subscription service. Twitter Blue is only available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K. The social media company says it has “plans to expand” elsewhere.
That limited global availability prevents millions of users outside of those five countries from voting on Twitter’s policy changes.
Twitter Blue is not available in Japan, the social media platform’s second-biggest market. (Elon has previously cited Twitter’s strength in Japan as something he wanted the company to emulate globally.) India, Indonesia and Brazil are Twitter’s third, fourth and fifth-largest markets respectively, with the U.K. in sixth place, according to analytics company Kepios.
Twitter reported 196.3 million monthly daily active users outside of the U.S., compared to 41.5 million in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2022, according to its earnings report.
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