Twitter Created System To Promote Elon Musk Tweets – Report

Elon Musk has hinted that Twitter will have a new CEO installed by the end of the year, amid reports of an algorithm change in order to promote his tweets.

According to Platformer, after his Super Bowl tweet did worse numbers than President Biden’s, Elon Musk ordered major changes to Twitter’s algorithm.

It comes after Musk last week reportedly fired one of two remaining principal engineers at Twitter, after the senior engineer told him that views on his tweets are declining in part because interest in Musk has declined in general.

Image credit: Elon Musk

Algorithm change

Now it seems that Twitter has changed its algorithm to better promote Elon Musk.

According to Platformer, at 2:36am on Monday morning, James Musk (cousin of Elon) sent an urgent message to Twitter engineers.

“We are debugging an issue with engagement across the platform,” James Musk reportedly wrote, tagging “@here” in Slack to ensure that anyone online would see it.

“Any people who can make dashboards and write software please can you help solve this problem. This is high urgency. If you are willing to help out please thumbs up this post.”

When engineers began logging into their laptops, the nature of the emergency became clear, Platformer reported: Elon Musk’s tweet about the Super Bowl got less engagement than President Joe Biden’s.

Biden’s tweet, in which he said he would be supporting his wife in rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles, generated nearly 29 million impressions. Musk, who also tweeted his support for the Eagles, generated a little more than 9.1 million impressions before deleting the tweet in apparent frustration.

Elon Musk reportedly flew his private jet back to the Bay Area on Sunday night to demand answers from his team.

One day later Twitter users reportedly found that when they opened the app, that Musk’s posts overwhelmed their ranked timeline.

This was no accident, Platformer alleged, reporting it could confirm that after Musk threatened to fire his remaining engineers, they 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.

Tweet engagement

According to Platformer Musk in recent weeks has been obsessed with the amount of engagement his posts are receiving.

Last week Platformer reported that Musk had fired one of two remaining principal engineers at the company, then this week Musk’s deputies told the rest of the engineering team that if the engagement issue wasn’t “fixed,” they would all lose their jobs as well.

Late Sunday night, Musk allegedly addressed his team in-person.

Roughly 80 people were pulled in to work on the project, which had quickly become priority number one at the company, Platformer reported. Staff reportedly worked through the night investigating various hypotheses about why Musk’s tweets weren’t reaching as many people as he thought they should and testing out possible solutions.

By Monday afternoon, “the problem” had been “fixed” after Twitter reportedly deployed code to automatically “greenlight” all of Musk’s tweets, meaning his tweets will bypass Twitter’s filters designed to show people the best content possible.

According to Platformer, the algorithm now 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.

New CEO

Meanwhile Elon Musk on Wednesday night tweeted he might be able to appoint his successor as Twitter CEO by the end of 2023.

Just before Christmas Elon Musk had started a poll asking Twitter users whether he should step down as chief executive of the company, after a number of policy misjudgements that included banning journalists and implementing a new policy banning all links to other social networks, including Mastodon, Instagram and Facebook.

Musk said he would “abide” by the results of the poll, but more than 57 percent of users voted in favour of Musk stepping down as chief executive, with the remaining 42.5 percent voting no to Musk stepping down.

Days after that result, Musk tweeted that he would “resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job! After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.”

This week Musk some clarity about the CEO position.

“I think I need to stabilise the organisation and just make sure it’s in a financially healthy place and that the product roadmap is clearly laid out,” Musk was quoted by CNBC as saying at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

“I’m guessing probably towards the end of this year should be good timing to find someone else to run the company because I think it should be in a stable position around the end of this year.”

It comes as questions still surround Twitter’s finances at the moment.

Earlier this week new data has revealed that despite Twitter offering a Super Bowl fire sale for advertisers, more than half of Twitter’s top 1,000 advertisers in September last year, were no longer spending on the platform in the first weeks of January 2023.

Advertising of course is Twitter’s main source of revenue, accounting for 90 percent of its $5.1bn turnover in 2021.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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