REPORT: Elon Fires Senior Twitter Engineer for Giving Him Bad News about His Account

Elon recently gathered together his engineers and advisors, according to recent reports, for a meeting of particular importance to him: why are his engagement numbers on the platform tanking? In other words, why aren’t his tweets getting more likes and retweets despite his account having over 100 million followers?

Specifically, Platformer reports that, during the meeting, Elon said “This is ridiculous. I have more than 100 million followers, and I’m only getting tens of thousands of impressions.” Here’s what Platformer reports happened next:

One of the company’s two remaining principal engineers offered a possible explanation for Musk’s declining reach: just under a year after the Tesla CEO made his surprise offer to buy Twitter for $44 billion, public interest in his antics is waning.  

Employees showed Musk internal data regarding engagement with his account, along with a Google Trends chart. Last April, they told him, Musk was at “peak” popularity in search rankings, indicated by a score of “100.” Today, he’s at a score of nine. Engineers had previously investigated whether Musk’s reach had somehow been artificially restricted, but found no evidence that the algorithm was biased against him.

Musk did not take the news well. 

“You’re fired, you’re fired,” Musk told the engineer. (Platformer is withholding the engineer’s name in light of the harassment Musk has directed at former Twitter employees.)

Breitbart, reporting on what also might be going on, added that:

There is speculation that Twitter’s addition of the public view count feature seven weeks ago might be to blame for the drop in engagement and views. Musk described the feature at the time, stating that it: “Shows how much more alive Twitter is than it may seem, as over 90% of Twitter users read, but don’t tweet, reply or like, as those are public actions.”

To make room for the view display, the like and retweet buttons were shrunk, making it more difficult for users to tap them. It’s also thought that Twitter’s increasingly buggy product contributes to the decrease in engagement. Twitter recently experienced a serious outage, preventing users from sending tweets and displaying the message, “You are over the daily limit for sending tweets.”

Another potential explanation is that Elon so far hasn’t taken much of a stance on America’s pressing political issues, so users might not be tuning into his tweets because his centrist takes are predictable and less interesting. Were he to start posting about Epstein again, his engagement would likely rocket right back up.

Elon, for his part, blamed a technical glitch for his engagement woes in a tweet, saying:

Long day at Twitter HQ with eng team Two significant problems mostly addressed:

1. Fanout service for Following feed was getting overloaded when I tweeted, resulting in up to 95% of my tweets not getting delivered at all. Following is now pulling from search (aka Earlybird). When Fanout crashed, it would also destroy anyone else’s tweets in queue.

2. Recommendation algorithm was using absolute block count, rather than percentile block count, causing accounts with many followers to be dumped, even if blocks were only 0.1% of followers. Also, it’s trivial to bot spam accounts with blocks.

By: Will Tanner. Follow me on Twitter @Will_Tanner_1

Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.

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