After examining Twitter’s now open-source recommendation algorithm, tech researcher Steven Tey discovered that there is a US government intervention tool, which allows US government officials to alter the algorithm.
In March last year, before purchasing the platform, Elon Musk suggested that the recommendation algorithm code should be open source.
Later, he said, “Our ‘algorithm’ is overly complex & not fully understood internally. People will discover many silly things, but we’ll patch issues as soon as they’re found!”
Tey published his findings on Twitter, saying, “When needed, the government can intervene with the Twitter algorithm. In fact, @TwitterEng (Twitter Engineering) even has a class for it – ‘GovernmentRequested.’”
He also discovered that the algorithm puts into consideration users’ following-to-follower ratio, affecting the rankings of those with a low number of followers and a high following count.
The algorithm also favors Twitter Blue subscribers.
It also groups users into four categories, power users, democrat users, republican users, and @elonmusk, to track posts.
Tey’s findings are not very surprising following the release of Twitter Files, internal Twitter documents that revealed the previous management’s history of censorship.
The Twitter files revealed that federal agencies, including the FBI repeatedly contacted Twitter to have accounts and posts removed.