Elon Musk has said his dog has replaced him as Twitter’s chief executive after appearing to back away from a pledge to step down.
The billionaire SpaceX boss took over the day-to-day running of the social media platform after buying it for $44bn (£38bn) last October.
After a tumultuous start to his tenure, which included thousands of staff sacked and warnings from regulators, Musk appeared to commit to quitting as CEO.
He set a Twitter poll in motion last December, writing: “Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.”
Reminded of the pledge during an impromptu live BBC interview on Tuesday, Musk said: “I did stand down. I keep telling you I’m not the CEO of Twitter, my dog is the CEO of Twitter.”
Musk, 51, has regularly made light of the controversy surrounding his stewardship of Twitter, and recently replaced its recognisable bird logo with the icon of cryptocurrency Dogecoin – a Shiba Inu like his dog Floki.
The “w” in Twitter was also removed from signage outside the company’s San Francisco headquarters.
Musk’s rare interview
Musk’s BBC interview was broadcast in a Twitter Spaces call, and came after the broadcaster objected to being labelled “government-funded media” on the platform.
The BBC said it was arranged at short notice and took place at the firm’s HQ.
Musk is regularly critical of media outlets, and recently removed The New York Times’ verification tick after the newspaper said it would not pay to keep it.
Accounts will soon have to be signed up to subscription service Twitter Blue to have a blue checkmark.
After numerous false starts, Musk has said legacy checkmarks will finally be removed on 20 April. Journalists are among the accounts set to be impacted.
Running Twitter ‘a rollercoaster’
Having remained CEO, Musk admitted running Twitter had been “quite a rollercoaster” – and suggested he only went through with the takeover because a judge would have forced him to.
Musk had tried to back out after making his initial offer in April 2022, prompting Twitter to sue.
He said he has around 1,500 employees left after last year’s mass lay-offs. Among those let go were engineers responsible for preventing service outages, sources told Reuters news agency.
Twitter has suffered several bugs and outages since the turn of the year, according to internet watchdog group NetBlocks, but Musk said any problems had not lasted long.
Musk also rejected claims that there had been a rise in hate speech and misinformation on Twitter.
Is a new name imminent?
The interview came as it emerged Twitter Inc no longer exists as a company.
According to a court document filed in California, it has been merged into a firm dubbed X Corp.
Musk appeared to confirm the move by tweeting an “X”.
Prior to his takeover, Musk spoke of an ambition to turn Twitter into “X, the everything app”.
The vague idea has been compared China’s WeChat, which combines features such as messaging, a marketplace, and public Twitter-style posts into one place.