The mercurial billionaire asks Twitter users to decide his future but adds: « Be careful what you wish, as you might get it ».
Elon Musk is polling Twitter users to ask if he should step down as head of the social media platform.
Mr Musk, one of the world’s richest people, bought Twitter for $44bn in late October, but his short tenure has been turbulent.
The owner of Tesla and SpaceX set his poll in motion just after 11pm UK time, writing: « Should I step down as head of Twitter?
« I will abide by the results of this poll. »
Roughly 20 minutes later, with the ‘yes’ votes edging ahead, he added: « As the saying goes, be careful what you wish, as you might get it. »
At 7am UK time, 13.5 million users had voted, and 56.7% had said Mr Musk should step down.
He responded to a number of comments from users, telling one: « The question is not finding a CEO, the question is finding a CEO who can keep Twitter alive. »
He added: « No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor. »
Another user volunteered for the job and Mr Musk replied: « You must like pain a lot.
« One catch: you have to invest your life savings in Twitter and it has been in the fast lane to bankruptcy since May.
« Still want the job? »
Earlier on Sunday, he had declared war on Twitter’s social media rivals by banned the promotion of their accounts from his platform.
This means that users could have their accounts suspended, locked or deleted if they post links to their profiles on other social media sites, including Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram, as well as Mastodon and Donald Trump’s Truth Social.
Last week he reinstated the Twitter accounts of several journalists that had been suspended for a day over his concern about the publication of public data concerning his plane.
The billionaire fired thousands of workers when he took over, prompting concern about the policing of abuse and disinformation on the site.
Last week the site dismissed its Trust and Safety Council, a group made up of charities and campaigners who advised site bosses on their moderation policies.
Three members of the council who quit had complained that Mr Musk was creating a « two tier » Twitter, where paid subscribers would get more benefits than free users.
They warned this would « take away the credibility of the system and the beauty of Twitter, the platform where anyone could be heard ».
When he took charge, Mr Musk promised to improve Twitter, ridding it of fake accounts and improving free speech.
But it has lost many of its major advertisers, as concern grows about its direction – and about its ability to pay interest on the $13bn debt Mr Musk took on to buy it.
On Saturday Reuters news agency revealed that Mr Musk’s team had asked investors for more funding, just days after selling another $3.6bn of Tesla shares – meaning he has sold nearly $40bn of shares in his electric vehicle company this year.