Musk wasn't happy that Joe Biden's Super Bowl tweet was more popular than his own.
Battle of the Tweets
Yesterday, Twitter users noticed their timelines were suddenly riddled with tweets from Elon Musk, the company's CEO — just days after Musk rage-fired an engineer because his tweets weren't getting enough engagement.
Turns out it was no coincidence. Platformer reports that Musk indeed assembled a crew of around 80 engineers to fix the "problem" of his waning popularity. Under threat of being fired, the engineers could only arrive at one solution: building a new system that guaranteed Musk's tweets would be promoted way higher than anyone else's.
And apparently, this was all prompted by Musk being annoyed that US president Joe Biden's tweet about the Super Bowl generated over three times as many impressions as his own, or 29 million compared to Musk's 9.1 million — before he deleted it, that is.
Soon after, Elon's cousin James Musk alerted engineers at the ungodly hour of 2:36am on Monday that they needed to fix this "high urgency" problem.
Power Users Only
According to Platformer, some engineers believed that Musk's declining engagement wasn't due to faulty coding, but because so many people had blocked or muted him during his Twitter takeover. However, some internal estimates found that Musk's tweets only showed up "about half the time" they were supposed to in Twitter's new "For You" tab.
The fix that the engineers hastily threw together to appease their tyrannical boss was implementing an algorithm that would automatically "greenlight" Musk's tweets, boosting their visibility by a factor of 1,000, Platformer found — ranking them higher than anyone else's.
This system is internally called a "power user multiplier" — which almost makes it sound like a real feature that would apply to more than just a single person who happens to be the boss of the entire company, but it doesn't, of course.
While not explicitly acknowledging the nature of the algorithm, Musk has publicly been fairly glib about his efforts to boost his posts, sharing memes about force-feeding users his tweets and telling people to "stay tuned" while the "'algorithm'" was being adjusted.
As of now, the "power user multiplier" remains in effect, though lower than it once was — and needless to say, many employees are disillusioned by this ridiculous fiasco.
"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," an anonymous current employee told Platformer. "I think we're past the point of believing that he actually wants what's best for everyone here."
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