Twitter Boosted Musk’s Tweets After Biden Got More Engagement: Report

  • Musk asked engineers to find ways to promote his tweets after the Super Bowl, Platformer reported.
  • Musk made the request after President Joe Biden received more engagement for an Eagles tweet. 
  • Engineers worked under the threat of being fired to create a system that would boost his tweets.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk apparently did not like that a Super Bowl tweet of his was getting fewer impressions than President Joe Biden’s — and had Twitter engineers work tirelessly after the big game to fix it, according to a new report from Platformer.

During the game, in which the Philadelphia Eagles faced off against the Kansas City Chiefs, Biden retweeted a video of his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, showing support for the Eagles. Musk also tweeted in support of the Eagles, but deleted his tweet four hours later.

Biden’s tweet gained nearly 29 million impressions, while Musk’s tweet got over 9 million impressions, Platformer’s Zoë Schiffer and Casey Newton reported.

As a result, Musk asked 80 engineers on Sunday night to begin working on a project that would ensure his tweets would also get significant engagement — and if they didn’t they would lose their jobs. Musk reportedly also flew his private jet to the Bay Area — where Twitter’s San Francisco office is located — after the game to speak to his team face-to-face, Platformer reported. 

In an early morning Slack message on Monday, Musk’s cousin, James Musk, requested any and all engineers respond to address the discrepancy in engagement, which he described as “high urgency,” according to the Platformer report.

According to the report, Twitter engineers worked through the night to create a system that allowed Musk to receive increased promotion on his tweets above other users “by a factor of 1,000,” Platformer reported. Engineers created new code that automatically “greenlights” all of Musk’s tweets, allowing them to bypass Twitter filters that would traditionally keep one particular account from flooding the entire feed, the outlet reported.

Engineers also spoke about reasons why Musk’s tweets may be performing less, including that multiple people on the site may have blocked or muted his content, though they also found technical reasons that resulted in less promotion of his tweets while fixing the issue, Platformer reported. 

Musk’s boost comes as he publicly obsesses over his engagement on the app; the CEO fired one of his top engineers last week after the employee suggested that Musk’s waning engagement was due to declining public interest in Musk himself, Platformer reported. 

In a Tuesday tweet, Musk appeared to acknowledge his newfound visibility on the site, posting a meme about his tweets, and later said the company would be making further adjustments to the algorithm.

Platformer reported Tuesday that the boost factor for Musk’s tweets is now lower than 1,000. 

A representative for Twitter did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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