Elon Musk hints Twitter’s algorithm will be made open source ‘next week’
Twitter owner Elon Musk hinted on Wednesday that the company is preparing to open source the microblogging platform’s algorithm as soon as “next week”.
In response to a tweet urging the Twitter chief to open source the platform, Mr Musk said: “Prepare to be disappointed at first when our algorithm is made open source next week,” adding that “it will improve rapidly.”
Making Twitter’s algorithm open source would allow its software to be publicly accessible to users across the world.
The Tesla chief’s remarks are in line with his previous statements that he supported the idea of making Twitter’s algorithm open source – a move that could bring greater transparency to the platform.
He said last year that making Twitter’s algorithm open source “is the way to go to solve both trust and efficacy”.
“I’m worried about de facto bias in ‘the Twitter algorithm’ having a major effect on public discourse. How do we know what’s really happening? The algorithm needs to be open source,” the Tesla boss said.
Social media experts previously said making Twitter’s algorithm open source can help researchers gain access to the platform’s software and help them decode how hate speech spreads on the platform and suggest ways to counter it.
Twitter’s co-founder and former chief Jack Dorsey had also previously said his biggest regret was that Twitter became a company, adding that he envisioned the platform as an “open source protocol”.
“A transparent system, both in policy and operations, is the right way to earn trust. Whether it’s owned by a company or an open protocol doesn’t matter as much as deliberately deciding to be open about every decision and why it was made,” Mr Dorsey tweeted last year.
It is however unclear if Mr Musk is serious about his latest tweet on making Twitter’s algorithm open source by next week.
Twitter has faced competition from other open source social media platforms, including Mastodon, that saw a surge in use following the Tesla chief’s takeover of Twitter in October.
Mr Musk’s latest tweet on open sourcing Twitter’s algorithm also comes at a time when the US Supreme Court is hearing arguments on the role of YouTube’s algorithm in recommending ISIS videos to its users.
The Twitter owner himself came under heavy criticism earlier this month for allegedly ordering the company’s remaining engineers to make changes to the platform’s algorithm to ensure his tweets got better engagement.
Twitter’s engineers pulled an all-nighter to ensure the Tesla chief had his tweets artificially boosted over other users “by a factor of 1,000”, Platformer reported.
In a fresh round of layoffs, the company has also reportedly fired employees from its ad sales team. This came days after the company shut down its two main offices in India and instructed its staff to work from home, reportedly as part of its ongoing efforts to cut costs and boost revenue.