Elon Musk Gets Special Treatment on Twitter – Twitter’s algorithm has been making headlines recently, especially after owner Elon Musk promised to release its source code. After the code was made public, several people discovered that Twitter was specifically tracking how Musk’s tweets were performing, and it had been coded right into Twitter’s algorithm.
The code shows that Twitter is tracking metrics for users broken up into four different groups: “power_user,” “republican,” “democrat,” and “Elon.” According to Twitter’s explanation, this metric tracking is being used to ensure that changes to Twitter did not negatively affect any of these four groups. For example, if an algorithm change benefited an entire group of users, but negatively impacted the group made up solely of Elon Musk, it would not implement that algorithm change.
During a Twitter Spaces audio chat set up by the company, Musk and a few of Twitter’s developers took questions from listeners. Musk claimed that he had no idea about the metric tracking portion of the algorithm. He did, however, admit that Twitter was reviewing his account’s analytics, as he tweeted last month to push back against reports that he called an emergency Twitter meeting to boost his tweets in the algorithm after a Super Bowl tweet from President Joe Biden performed better than Musk’s tweet about the game.
A note on the algorithm source code states that the metric collecting was being used to ensure that changes to Twitter did not negatively affect any of these four groups. Despite concerns raised during the Twitter Spaces chat about grouping accounts into the categories “democrat” and “republican,” one of Twitter’s developers explained that this code was just for collecting stats.
However, Zoe Schiffer of Platformer reported that Twitter removed part of the source code that affected the reach of Musk’s and other users’ tweets before releasing the algorithm to the public. During the Twitter Spaces chat, Twitter explained that the metric tracking code was first developed into the algorithm years ago under the old Twitter regime. Nonetheless, it was not explained why Musk’s tweets were specifically being tracked, a part of the code that seemingly would’ve been added much more recently.
Musk responded to this revelation by stating that Twitter would remove the code. “It shouldn’t be there,” Musk said. “Consider it gone.”
Elon Musk Gets Special Treatment on Twitter
In conclusion, Twitter’s algorithm is indeed specifically tracking how Elon Musk’s tweets are doing. The metric tracking code was added to the algorithm years ago under the old Twitter regime, but it is not clear why Musk’s tweets were specifically being tracked. While Twitter has explained that this metric tracking is being used to ensure that changes to Twitter do not negatively affect any of the four groups, the revelation has raised concerns about the level of surveillance on Twitter and how it impacts users’ privacy.