On Super Bowl Sunday, in the first quarter of the game, Elon Musk tweeted out his support of the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Go @Eagles!!!” Musk tweeted, surrounding his words with American flag emoji.
Sometime after the Kansas City Chiefs emerged victorious, Musk’s tweet was suddenly deleted. The next day, as Mashable previously reported, Twitter users suddenly started reporting that their “For You” feeds on the platform were filling up almost entirely with tweets and replies from Elon Musk.
Elon Musk deleted this tweet after the Eagles lost the Super Bowl.
Credit: Mashable screenshot
It turns out that these two things were related.
According to a new report from Platformer(Opens in a new tab), Musk deleted his Super Bowl tweet and demanded that Twitter engineers boost his content in users’ feeds upon seeing that President Joe Biden’s tweet(Opens in a new tab) supporting the Eagles received more views than his.
Tweet may have been deleted
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Biden’s tweet received 29 million impressions as of Tuesday night. In comparison, prior to Musk deleting his tweet on Sunday, it had 9.1 million impressions.
In the Platformer report, people knowledgeable of the situation told the outlet that Musk’s cousin, James, sent an internal message on Slack to Twitter’s engineers at 2:26AM on Monday morning concerning a “high urgency” situation. The emergency was that Biden’s post performed better than Musk’s. Around 80 Twitter engineers were brought in to work on the issue.
By Monday afternoon, a fix was implemented to the algorithm that allowed Musk’s tweets – and only Musk’s tweets – to “bypass Twitter’s filters,” which in turn “artificially boosted Musk’s tweets by a factor of 1,000,” promoting Musk’s content in everyone’s feed.
As users started complaining about seeing nothing but Musk on Monday night, Twitter’s owner seemed to acknowledge the issue publicly with a tweet announcing(Opens in a new tab) “adjustments” being made to the algorithm.
However, what Musk apparently left out was the part where the Musk-filled Twitter feeds were a result of his alleged jealousy over Joe Biden’s Super Bowl tweet outperforming his. It’s an especially interesting sequence of events in the context of Musk’s attempts to paint Twitter before he acquired it as a biased institution via the Twitter Files.
As one Twitter employee told Platformer in their report, “[Musk] 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.”
It seems like that is a rather succinct way of breaking this whole thing down. and it fits perfectly within Twitter’s character limit too.