MANILA, Philippines – If you’ve noticed Twitter owner Elon Musk’s tweets more readily on the “For You” section of the social media platform in recent days, you aren’t alone. The adjustment on Twitter also appears to have been intentional.
A report on Platformer on Wednesday, February 15 (February 14, US time), outlined how Twitter’s remaining engineers, after being threatened with firings by Musk, “built a system designed to ensure that Musk – and Musk alone – benefits from previously unheard of promotion of his tweets to the entire user base.”
According to the report, Twitter released code that would benefit Musk’s visibility. The code would “greenlight” all of Musk’s tweets – bypassing filters meant to allow people to see the best content possible that they actually want to see.
Twitter also boosted Musk’s tweets in the algorithm by a factor of 1,000 to ensure his tweets would consistently rank higher than anyone else’s in their feeds and bypass safeguards meant to prevent one account from flooding the “For You” feed.
The report added this tweak to “For You” on Twitter was internally called a “power user multiplier,” and was reserved for Musk.
Biden beats Musk, in a tweet
The reported reasoning behind the change was related to the Super Bowl and to US President Joe Biden.
Biden and Musk both sent out tweets supporting the Philadelphia Eagles, but Biden’s received more impressions than Musk’s.
Biden’s tweet had about 29 million impressions.
Meanwhile, Musk tweeted then subsequently deleted his own tweet supporting the Eagles. The tweet, which was live for at least four hours and was live for some time after the Eagles lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, had around 9.1 million impressions before being deleted.
Following the Twitter changes which occurred across February 13 to 14 as a result of this, the site’s users took notice of – and lambasted – the apparent takeover of their “For You” timelines by Musk.
Musk suggested on Tuesday afternoon he would reverse this tweak.
Said Musk, “Please stay tuned while we make adjustments to the uh .… ‘algorithm.'”
Platformer’s report also discussed how Twitter engineers, under threat of firings and in fear of losing their jobs, were capitulating to orders to make fundamental changes to how Twitter works, apparently to ensure Musk gets his due.
“He bought the company, made a point of showcasing what he believed was broken and manipulated under previous management, then turns around and manipulates the platform to force engagement on all users to hear only his voice,” a current employee said.
The employee added, “I think we’re past the point of believing that he actually wants what’s best for everyone here.” – Rappler.com
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