Elon Musk’s personal tweet traffic jumped nearly 740% after he reportedly ordered his engineers to manipulate Twitter’s algorithm to boost his messages, according to Twitter data.
The numbers support media reports that Musk ordered the change to give his tweets a higher profile after a Super Bowl message by President Joe Biden collected substantially more views than Musk’s tweet for the game.
Biden’s tweet, in which he said he would be supporting his wife by cheering the Philadelphia Eagles, chalked up some 29 million views. Musk’s tweet, also about backing the Eagles, grabbed just 9.1 views before he deleted it.
That’s when Musk threatened to fire his engineers and ordered them to manipulate the system so that his tweets would be promoted to all Twitter users, the Platformer newsletter reported this week.
Twitter users discovered that Musk’s posts were suddenly overpowering their ranked timelines.
Timothy Graham, a senior lecturer in digital media at the Queensland University of Technology, said Twitter data he collected revealed a massive change in eyeballs on Musk’s tweets.
“Lo and behold, the next morning” after Musk’s demand, there was “this massive increase in his impressions — and then that’s sustained ever since,” Graham tweeted.
Graphs Graham created show Musk’s impressions jumped 737% — and his daily traffic has nearly tripled.
Graham said his Twitter account was briefly locked and his graph tweets were removed shortly after he posted them. They were later resurrected.
Twitter could not be reached for comment because it no longer has a media or communications department.