Musk Artificially Boosts His Own Tweets—to Uproar

Twitter CEO seems to acknowledge users are now force-fed his content
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2023 7:52 AM CST
Musk Artificially Boosts His Own Tweets—to Uproar
Elon Musk departs the Phillip Burton Federal Building and United States Court House in San Francisco on Jan. 24, 2023.   (AP Photo/Benjamin Fanjoy, File)

Elon Musk's tweets are now stationed at the top of many Twitter users' feeds—and that's no accident, according to Platformer, which reports the Twitter CEO threatened to fire his team of engineers unless they built a system that would better promote his tweets to all users. "In recent weeks, Musk has been obsessed with the amount of engagement his posts are receiving," according to the outlet, which previously reported that Musk fired a principal engineer who suggested engagement was down because of declining interest in Musk. But the final straw reportedly came when Musk's posts about the Super Bowl received less impressions than President Biden's.

In tweeting his support for the Philadelphia Eagles, Biden generated almost 29 million impressions, compared to 9.1 million for Musk. This followed a tweet from Musk that claimed 95% of his tweets were "not getting delivered at all." A message sent to the Twitter team early Monday described the "high urgency" issue and asked any available engineers to assist, according to Platformer. Though many users have blocked or muted Musk in recent months, engineers reportedly found the CEO's tweets weren't performing well in the "For You" section, where users can see tweets from those they don't follow.

They then changed the algorithm so that it "artificially boosted Musk's tweets by a factor of 1,000—a constant score that ensured his tweets rank higher than anyone else's in the feed," per Platformer. Engineers also allowed Musk's tweets to bypass filters that would normally keep a single user's tweets from clogging the feed, according to the outlet. The change caused an uproar, with users complaining their feeds were "flooded" with Musk's tweets, per Yahoo. Musk acknowledged that Monday, tweeting out a meme suggesting users were being force-fed his content. He also suggested adjustments would be made. According to Platformer, "the artificial boosts applied to his account remain in place, although the factor is now lower than 1,000." (More Elon Musk stories.)

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