Running up his score with a cheat

Crisis! Emergency! Elon Musk discovered a terrible injustice!

When bleary-eyed engineers began to log on to their laptops, the nature of the emergency became clear: Elon Musk’s tweet about the Super Bowl got less engagement than President Joe Biden’s.

Biden’s tweet, in which he said he would be supporting his wife in rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles, generated nearly 29 million impressions. Musk, who also tweeted his support for the Eagles, generated a little more than 9.1 million impressions before deleting the tweet in apparent frustration.

I’ve never really worried about this before, but my tweets make less of a splash than Joe Biden’s. I would have thought this was no big deal — he’s the president, I’m some schmoe in Minnesota — but now that you mention it, that is unfair. People should pay more attention to me! So far, all I’m able to do is lie on the floor and kick and scream and cry about it, but Elon has control. He has engineers. He can hack the code.

That’s what he did. He told his engineers to cheat and artificially inflate his numbers.

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.

Internally, this is called a “power user multiplier,” although it only applies to Elon Musk, we’re told. The code also allows Musk’s account to bypass Twitter heuristics that would otherwise prevent a single account from flooding the core ranked feed, now known as “For You.”

That explains why people opening the app Monday found that Musk dominated the feed, with a dozen or more Musk tweets and replies visible to anyone who followed him and millions more who did not. Over 90 percent of Musk’s followers now see his tweets, according to one internal estimate.

Keep that in mind when Musk brags about how important he is, based on “engagement” and “followers” and “traffic”. He’s cheating big time at this game.

Here’s a good thing to remember: Elon Musk is just dumb.


  1. wzrd1 says

    Well, his Twaddle score is far more important than some dweeb nobody ever heard of that only controls most of the thermonuclear weapons on the planet.

    Hey, I’m hungry. Anyone got some moron milk to pour onto my stupidflakes?

  2. Matt G says

    Kinda like buying up copies of your own book to get it on the NYT bestseller list. Only more pathetic by three orders of magnitude.

  3. raven says

    Xpost from Infinite thread.

    Yahoo Finance Video
    Elon Musk expected to announce Twitter successor towards end of 2023
    Wed, February 15, 2023 at 6:31 AM PST

    Yahoo Finance Live anchors discuss reports that Elon Musk will announce his Twitter successor towards the end of the year.

    This is apparently Musk’s plan.

    To kill Twitter and replace it with something else.
    I suppose he will call it Stormfront or Magatville or some such.

    He didn’t need to spend $44 billion to do this.
    He could have spent zero dollars and done this.
    There are already a lot of similar forums to Twitter such as Gab, Parler, Truth Social, Telegram, Mastodon etc..

    I’m sure it will be a lot like present era Twitter. Overrun with child porn, Russian trolls, and Nazis.

  4. says

    Musk, who also tweeted his support for the Eagles, generated a little more than 9.1 million impressions before deleting the tweet in apparent frustration.

    That is one petulant man.

  5. mordred says

    @4: The Elonphone? I suppose the best way to do that would be to buy apple for a vastly inflated price, but I fear even Elon couldn’t bullshit up that much cash!

  6. chrislawson says

    raven– that is hilarious. Buying a company for $44B just so you can phase it out? Sheer genius.

  7. says

    I’m guessing the Bidens accepted the Eagles’ defeat gracefully, while Musk is one of those insisting that penalties should not be called and rules not enforced in the late stages when the game is being decided.

  8. Artor says

    I don’t use Twitter, so I have no idea how it works. Can you block Musk’s tweets so you don’t have to see them? If he was forcing his bullshit into my feed, that would be reason enough for me to cancel an account. If I had one.

  9. moarscienceplz says

    I’ve never had a Twitter account but now I am tempted to sign up just to post a single tweet: to ask Elon to continue to shove his head further up his own ass until he disappears.

  10. Alan G. Humphrey says

    Elon is just one big butt that hurts all of the time ’cause his idea was stolen from him, the idea of a salve for that hurt, Preperation M…

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    moxie @ # 12 – First, he’ll have to get the Constitution amended to allow a non-native USAian to become President.

    Or maybe he’ll deepfake a new birth certificate.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    Sabine Hossenfelder’s science podcast likes to make fun of Elon Musk.
    Today she reined in the mockery a bit but there is a lot of interesting news; mysterious lasers over Hawa’i, cameras and LIDAR for self-guiding vehicles and drones, solutions for large-scale textile recycling and finally making the cheap perovskite solar cells more durable.

  13. Alan G. Humphrey says

    Pierce R. Butler @ 14
    There is no Constitutional requirement for running for president. In the worst of all possible worlds, he could come in second and be appointed VP by SCOTUS because that’s the traditional way it was done. No requirement for those in line to be born citizens and when SCOTUS gets involved all rules are open to their interpretation.

  14. birgerjohansson says

    If people who were not born in the USA can run for president in the future, we should nominate Arnold as an reasonably sane Republican alternative. He certainly has more charisma than DeSantis and the other MAGAots. And he is younger than Trump.
    This does not mean he stands for optimal policies, but at least the debates would get halfway sane, without poop-flinging.

  15. gijoel says

    I need to make a T-shirt that says, “I thought Musk was an idiot before he bought Twitter.”

  16. says

    It’s funny because some months ago I wrote a listicle about issues reported by Twitter users under Elon. One common complaint was that Elon himself was being shoved in front of everyone’s faces. People were speculating that Elon was artificially boosting himself, but I was skeptical. I thought it more likely that the algorithm simply found Elon’s bullshit particularly viral, and was promoting it “legitimately”.

    But now Elon actually is artificially boosting himself.

  17. bcw bcw says

    The one reason to consider a twitter account is that then you can click on an Elon tweet and click on the three dots and first click “mute” and then click “block.”

  18. StevoR says

    @ ^ bcw bcw : Maybe you can for now but how long before Musk decides that he won’t allow people to do that anymore and makes himself un-muteable and unblockable?

    Especially when a lot of people see too many Musk tweets, get sick of it and decide to do what you’ve suggested; plunging his “rightful” numbers down again..

  19. llyris says

    Anyone else reminded of that scene from Shrek where Lord Farquaad arrives on his horse to meet Princess Fiona?