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Elon Musk changes Twitter to show his tweets first

After a Super Bowl night embarrassment, the Twitter CEO ordered engineers to tweak the algorithm to boost impressions on his own tweets.

Elon Musk changes Twitter to boost his tweets

Since taking over as Twitter CEO last fall, Elon Musk has taken every opportunity to put himself front and centre of the platform. Musk is the second most-followed user, behind only former President Obama, but he appears unhappy with his positioning on the site.

Last Sunday Musk noticed that his own tweet in support of the Philadelphia Eagles generated just 9.1 million impressions on the platform, far fewer than the 29 million impressions of President Biden’s Super Bowl tweet.

Platformer report that this discrepancy annoyed Musk to such an extent that he enlisted 80 Twitter employees to help boost his own visibility on the site. The report claims that fortifying Musk’s impression count immediately became a top priority internally and workers pushed through the night exploring why Musk’s tweets were reaching fewer people than they had expected.

Musk’s account given a ‘power user multiplier’

Some suggested that Musk’s fall from prominence may be the result of a mass ‘muting’ or ‘blocking’ of his account. Most Twitter users have little interest in the platform’s internal machinations and Musk himself is a polarising figure.

However engineers were able to boost Musk’s positioning on the site by applying a ‘power user multiplier’ to Musk’s account. The algorithm now ranks Musk’s tweets with multiplier of x1000, meaning that they outrank all other users’ posts.

This essentially works as an automatic ‘green light’ for Musk’s tweets, allowing them to score highly on the platform’s algorithm to artificially boost impressions. One internal estimate, cited in The Verge, claims that more than 90% of Musk’s followers see each of his tweets.

Publicity remains a focus for Musk

When he took over Twitter last year Musk spoke at length about wanting to democratise the platform and make the company profitable. In the months that have followed Musk’s own focus has shifted somewhat towards the publicity that owning Twitter has afforded him.

The bizarre demands made on Super Bowl Sunday were just the most recent in a number of requests made by Musk to ensure that he remains the ‘main character’ in the Twittersphere.

Earlier this month it was reported that Musk fired one of two remaining principal engineers for suggesting that a fall in impressions was due to a waning interest in his Twitter output. When news of Musk’s proposed purchase first emerged in April 2022 interest in Musk online was at an all-time peak. But after his takeover was made official interest in the new CEO has dipped substantially.

On Tuesday afternoon, as users noticed that their timelines were battling a sudden influx of his tweets, Musk posted his own version of the popular ‘forced to drink milk’ meme, in which ‘Elon’s tweets’ are force-fed to a woman labelled ‘Twitter’.

The changes caused uproar on Monday with Musk becoming overly-prominent on the platform that he paid $44 billion for just a few months ago. Musk hinted that his team were looking into making alterations to reverse some of the changes made in the aftermath of the Super Bowl.

He tweeted: “Please stay tuned while we make adjustments to the uh .… ‘algorithm’”.