Elon Musk is a regular Twitter user. Tesla’s CEO tweets around the clock, both during the day and late at night. On Twitter (TWTR), the billionaire’s diverse thinking process – Get Twitter, Inc. Report regularly hops from his own pet projects to law enforcement to social media. His most recent tweets span from expressing support for the Artemis III astronauts who are heading to the moon on Musk’s SpaceX Starship Human Landing System, to a joke criticising the FBI and its snooping powers, to a poll about Twitter’s algorithm composition.
Musk asked his roughly 80 million Twitter followers whether the company’s algorithm should be made public. The survey attracted over 1.1 million votes, with 82.7 percent of those who participated agreeing. Twitter Co-Founder and Former CEO Jack Dorsey quickly defended the social media network, claiming that this differentiation is a “decision” that anybody may make. Obviously, the joke was meant. Dorsey is currently the CEO of Block (SQ) – Get Block Inc Class A Report, previously known as Square, a financial payments company.
What is the significance of this?
Twitter’s algorithm decides how many tweets users see on their timelines, the kind of tweets they are likely to see, and the persons who are most likely to appear on their timeline based on their interaction and platform activity. In a blog post, Twitter explains, “An algorithmic Home timeline displays a stream of Tweets from accounts you have chosen to follow on Twitter, as well as recommendations of other content we think you might be interested in based on accounts you interact with frequently, Tweets you engage with, and more.”
Twitter’s algorithm sorts material based on numerous ranking signals using machine learning skills. Twitter’s algorithms also underpin the notifications tab’s Twitter trends, topics, and suggestions. In 2016, Twitter provided users the option of seeing the most recent tweets or an algorithmically sorted Twitter timeline. The public may theoretically use, modify, and share an open-source Twitter algorithm, making it more transparent and fostering healthy competition.
However, there is an opposing viewpoint.
“For the digital world, open-source software has been a tremendous democratising and inventive force. However, because of its widespread use, security issues can have real-world consequences when a large percentage of the most popular apps and websites rely on it “In a co-authored piece in The Wall Street Journal, former Google (GOOGL) – Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report Chief Executive Eric Schmidt and Schmidt Futures Research Lead Frank Long wrote about former Google (GOOGL) – Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report Chief Executive Eric Schmidt and Schmidt Futures Research Lead Frank Long.
“This is not only a problem for IT businesses and their customers. It is also a national security problem. Because open source is so widely used, its security is crucial to our infrastructure, placing much of the internet and millions of people at danger “Schmidt and Long were added to the mix.
What is the Deal with Twitter’s Algorithm?
Through their algorithms, social media firms have long been accused of fostering divisiveness, extreme speech, echo chambers, disinformation, and online radicalization. They have also been subjected to regular political accusations from Republicans who accuse them of being prejudiced. In 2018, Twitter was investigated by Congress for suspected prejudice in the United States.
Former Republican Pennsylvania Congressman Ryan Costello said at the time that “there is to some degree some politics of what does and does not get into Twitter’s algorithm.” “When particular tweets are asked to be deleted, the content judgment calls. There are certain constitutional problems about a company’s authority to delete information solely because of its political bent “In an interview with Bloomberg, he said.
Former President Donald Trump, who made Twitter a mainstay of his presidency, often complained about unfairness. Following the Jan. 6 uprising, Trump was finally banned from Twitter “because to the possibility of additional encouragement to violence.” He has subsequently sought, with varying degrees of success, to create competing social media sites that closely resemble Twitter’s features.
Twitter’s standards, according to Dorsey, are based on fairness and openness.
Aside from politics, Twitter’s picture algorithm has been chastised in 2020 for favouring white faces over coloured ones. Twitter claimed its studies revealed no racial or gender prejudice, but it did unveil new tools that give users greater control over their photographs because “we acknowledge that the way we automatically crop photos means there is a potential for damage.”
What is Open Source Software?
Because its design is publicly available, the phrase open source refers to anything that others may edit and share. For the developers with whom Twitter collaborates, the open-source community has been a strong supporter. The corporation has also invested in talent to promote a system that would create a “open and decentralised social media standard.” In a series of tweets in 2019, Dorsey also addressed the problem of recommendation algorithms openly.
He went on to say that Square and Twitter were both working on developing a democratic norm for gaining access to and contributing to a much broader corpus of public discourse. Experts have previously said that Dorsey was the first to bring up Twitter’s flaws and possibilities for improvement.