Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey Discuss Manipulation of Twitter

Elon Musk recently revealed a secret to Twitter that many may not have known in order to break the algorithm, and Jack Dorsey spoke up against Musk’s assessment.

Musk tweeted, “Very important to fix your Twitter feed: 1. Tap home button. 2. Tap stars on upper right of screen. 3. Select ‘Latest tweets’. You are being manipulated by the algorithm in ways you don’t realize. Easy to switch back & forth to see the difference.”

Dorsey responded, “it was designed simply to save you time when you are away from the app for a while. Pull to refresh goes back to reverse chron as well.”

Interestingly, Dorsey admits that the tool was manipulating users, but not intentionally. Dorsey responded to a user saying, “no it wasn’t designed to manipulate. It was designed to catch you up and work off what you engage with. That can def have unintended consequences tho. Which is why one should be able to choose if they use an algo or not, and which one. Simple solution to all this.”

That’s been Musk’s entire point. Manipulating people by circulating the same viewpoints or giving users the content that Twitter wants them to see is exactly what’s deriving Twitter downhill.

Musk responded, “I’m not suggesting malice in the algorithm, but rather that it’s trying to guess what you might want to read and, in doing so, inadvertently manipulate/amplify your viewpoints without you realizing this is happening.”

Musk followed up with, “Not to mention potential bugs in the code. Open source is the way to go to solve both trust and efficacy.”

Not only does Musk want to take a minimalist stance on banning or removing posts, but making the code “open source” would allow users to view the code, make suggestions to Twitter’s developers and use the code for their own algorithm. Musk also says that he wants to authenticate all real humans to make sure that bots are kept at a minimum. That means humans will be discussing topics and commenting rather than computers arguing with users.

Calls for transparency have been going on for some time and it came to a head in the 2020 Presidential election where posts were deleted and users were shadow banned. That type of censorship shouldn’t happen along political lines and takes away the user experience and the trust that users have for social media platforms.