After Elon Musk’s Super Bowl Tweet Flopped, He Made Engineers Change The Algorithm To Boost His Tweets
During Sunday’s Super Bowl, Elon Musk tweeted, “Go @Eagles!!!” with a bunch of American flag emojis. A couple of hours later, he deleted it. Was Elon embarrassed the Philadelphia Eagles lost? Nope. He was embarrassed that his tweet only got 9.1 impressions (views), while Joe Biden’s pro-Eagles tweet got 29 million. That night, a pissed-off Elon flew his private jet back to the Bay Area to “demand answers” from Twitter employees. According to Platformer, Elon threatened to fire his remaining engineers unless they built a system to promote his tweets. On Monday afternoon, when people who hadn’t blocked Elon Musk (fools!) opened Twitter, their timelines were filled with Elon posts. To quote the original Buzz Lightyear, “You are a sad, strange little man.”
Yesterday, Platformer published a whole exposé on Elon’s little dick scam. They say that at 2:36 AM on Monday, Elon’s cousin/recent Twitter hire, James Musk, sent a “high urgency” message to Twitter engineers, asking for help “debugging an issue with engagement” from “any people who can make dashboards and write software.” Soon, engineers realized this “emergency” was about Elon’s stupid Super Bowl tweet getting less engagement than the President’s. Here’s Joe Biden’s tweet, which is way more interesting than Elon’s boilerplate, “Go @Eagles!!!”:
As your president, I’m not picking favorites.
But as Jill Biden’s husband, fly Eagles, fly. https://t.co/YtgaEC83Qj
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 13, 2023
Platformer writes that Elon deleted his tweet “in apparent frustration”:
In the wake of those losses — the Eagles to the Kansas City Chiefs, and Musk to the president of the United States — Twitter’s CEO flew his private jet back to the Bay Area on Sunday night to demand answers from his team.
Within a day, the consequences of that meeting would reverberate around the world, as Twitter users opened the app to find that Musk’s posts overwhelmed their ranked timeline. This was no accident, Platformer can confirm: 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.
Apparently, Elon has been obsessed with the amount of engagement his posts are receiving. Last week, he fired one of the two remaining principal engineers at Twitter after the engineer told him his views were declining “in part because interest in Musk has declined in general.” The engineering team was told they’d be fired too, if the “engagement issue” wasn’t “fixed”:
Late Sunday night, Musk 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. Employees 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.
One engineer guessed Elon’s reach was reduced cuz he’d been blocked and muted by so many people. Yeah, that makes sense. I blocked that loser the moment he took over Twitter. By Monday afternoon, employees had figured out a solution. Twitter deployed code to automatically “greenlight” all of Elon’s tweets. His posts will bypass filters designed to show people the best content possible. The algorithm now artificially boosts Elon’s tweets by a factor of 1000, which will ensure they rank higher than anyone else’s in the feed. It’s called a “power user multiplier”, and it’s why Twitter users found their feeds dominated with Elon’s tweets on Monday. It didn’t matter if they followed him or not.
Yesterday, Elon acknowledged the Twitter changes with this gross forced bottle-feeding image (so far, it has 152.5 million impressions):
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 14, 2023
He also suggested that some of the changes would be walked back after his timeline takeover “caused an uproar”:
Please stay tuned while we make adjustments to the uh .… “algorithm”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 14, 2023
The artificial boost applied to Elon’s tweets remains, but the factor has been lowered from the original 1,000. Still, the fact remains that Elon has rigged all of Twitter to pay attention to him. An anonymous employee tells Platformer:
“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,” said a current employee. “I think we’re past the point of believing that he actually wants what’s best for everyone here.”