Engineers change Twitter algorithm because Elon Musk demands to be at the top | Social media

You tweets of Elon Musk have been highlighted in the feed from various Twitter users around the world – even if they don’t follow you or have muted the account. Twitter’s CEO’s loss of reach led him to demand that employees develop a way to put their tweets at the top of the homepages, advanced the Platformer specialized site.

When the Twitter homepages began to be flooded by the businessman, several users were surprised. It is not news that Elon Musk has lost reach in recent times – he himself has publicly complained about 95% of his tweets do not appear on the main page of other users.

Based on documents and interviews with people familiar with the process, the Platformer says that James Musk, Elon’s cousin recently hired for Twitter, sent an “urgent” message to the engineers responsible for maintaining the social network. It said there was “a platform-wide reach issue.” You tweets Joe Biden and Elon Musk had a similar message – both showed support for the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl – but the President of the United States reached about 29 million people, while the businessman stayed at nine million. Later, after the football game​, Musk turned off the tweet.

A day later, problem solved. The CEO was reaching 90% of followers, about 116 million people. Employees, woken up by James Musk’s message sent at 2:36 am, have built a system that promotes posts of the CEO on the homepages of all users.

That night, around 80 people worked and studied the cause of the businessman’s loss of reach. They concluded that it would be nothing more than a mirror of the last few months. The loss of popularity, due to the controversial purchase of Twitter and the mass layoffs that followed, resulted in an increase in the number of blocking and silencing of the account. Still, the tweets by Elon Musk appeared only half as often as expected by the workers responsible for the algorithm.

Platformer guarantees that, before the process was finished, Elon threatened to fire the (few) remaining engineers. Hours later, the hashtag #BlockElon stood out in Twitter trends: those who had blocked the businessman’s account managed to avoid his tweets.

Prior to 2016, this algorithm change would not have been possible. At that time, the feed was purely chronological, there was no algorithm like today: there was no tweets recommended or with a better rating than others and, therefore, immediately rose to the top of the page. When did the feed algorithmic, Twitter described it as a “flow of tweets from accounts that you follow on Twitter, as well as recommended content or other content that we think might interest you, based on the accounts and tweets with which you interact and more”.

In October 2022, Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion (about €43.6 million). As soon as he entered the headquarters, he fired the executive general manager Parag Agrawal, the financial director and the security director. Since then, the redundancies have not stopped. By the end of January, around 80% of the company’s workers had been made redundant. At that time, there were 2300 active – and the number continues to drop. A few days ago, another engineer fired.

The businessman said, this Wednesday, that the end of 2023 could be a “good time” to find someone to head the platform. In a videoconference, at the World Government Summit, in Dubai, he stated that he needs to “stabilize the company and be sure that it is financially healthy and has an outlined future” to leave.

Text edited by Pedro Rios

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