Elon Musk called Twitter newsfeed algorithms 'manipulative,' prompting a reply from founder Jack Dorsey, who disagreed with the claim
- Elon Musk told his followers to "fix" their Twitter feed to show "Latest tweets."
- Twitter founder and ex-CEO Jack Dorsey said the setting was simply a way of showing trending news.
Elon Musk said Twitter users were being "manipulated" by the site's newsfeed algorithm, prompting a response from founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey.
It marks the latest twist in Musk's tumultuous takeover of the company.
In a tweet on Saturday, Musk indicated the default Twitter feed, which shows tweets based on popularity and a user's interests, needed to be replaced. Twitter declined to comment.
"You are being manipulated by the algorithm in ways you don't realize," Musk said, telling his followers to "fix" their Twitter feed to show "Latest tweets" by tapping the star in the top right of the screen.
Dorsey responded by disagreeing with Musk, saying the function was a means of updating followers on trending news and was easily changed.
"it was designed simply to save you time when you are away from app for a while. pull to refresh goes back to reverse chron [chronological] as well," Dorsey tweeted.
—jack⚡️ (@jack) May 14, 2022
Dorsey then replied to a tweet from another user who said the function was designed for manipulation, but that it could have consequences.
"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," Dorsey said, arguing the current option of being able to choose was best.
Musk replied to himself around eight hours later, indicating any manipulation wasn't intentional.
"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 tweeted. "Not to mention potential bugs in the code. Open source is the way to go to solve both trust and efficacy."
The Twitter algorithm has been a key talking point for Musk, who wants it to be open source to increase trust in the platform, as he said Friday the acquisition was on hold pending confirmation that 5% of the site's accounts belonged to automated 'bot' accounts. Musk suspects the figure is higher and said he would take a sample of 100 random followers of the Twitter account.
Musk said Twitter's legal team told him he had broken Twitter's non-disclosure agreement for that tweet.
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