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Elon Musk's Exhausting Narcissism Has Rendered Twitter Unusable

By Dustin Rowles | Social Media | February 15, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | Social Media | February 15, 2023 |


I went to Twitter yesterday and, using the default “For You” tab (or the home page), the first tweet that came up for me came from Elon Musk. I scrolled down for less than 20 seconds, and there were two more Elon Musk tweets. The same thing happened this morning. Elon Musk had the second tweet on my timeline, I scrolled down for a few seconds and saw another Elon Musk tweet while at the same time I was being alerted to another Elon tweet at the top of my feed.

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Here’s the thing: I don’t follow Elon Musk. But this isn’t happening to just me. It’s happening to everyone. Elon has adjusted the algorithm so that Musk — and only Musk — bypasses the normal algorithm. The story comes from Platformer, which reports that Musk was so furious on Sunday night that Joe Biden’s Super Bowl tweet gained more impressions than his that, after the Super Bowl, he flew home and demanded the engineers “fix” the problem. The engineers, who have learned that telling the truth to Elon Musk will only get them fired, had no choice but to “solve” the problem.

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 …

By Monday afternoon, “the problem” had been “fixed.” Twitter 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. 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.

The high ranking of Elon’s tweets was so obvious that Musk could only make jokes about what was supposed to be a secret special system. This was the first tweet I saw on my timeline yesterday:

Musk is making fun of himself and his role of CEO on Twitter now. Importantly, however, he hasn’t really changed things. He turned the artificial boost down to less than a factor of 1,000, but the boost still exists, as evidenced by the fact that his Tweets are still all over my For You timeline.

Checking Twitter again, another Elon Must tweet floated to the top of my timeline. Fortunately, this one was helpful for those who do not use lists:

I use lists 85 percent of the time on Twitter — I’ve curated a politics list, a celeb list, a book list, a sports list, and a friends list, and typically, I only use those while I’m on Twitter. They’re chronological tweets from a small number of people, there are no ads, and it is not cluttered with Elon tweets. It’s the only way to make Twitter useful. If he takes those away, Twitter will be of no more use to me at all.

Even still, Twitter is increasingly dysfunctional. It’s glitchy, it’s overwhelmed by right-wing trolls, and Elon Musk is as obsessed as Donald Trump was to make himself the star of the platform every single day. It’s exhausting.

Source: Platformer

(Publisher’s Note: As always, we have replaced Elon Musk images with photos of Lee Pace for aesthetic reasons, and with apologies to Lee Pace.)