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Saturday, Apr 13, 2024

Elon Musk says Twitter will open source its algorithm next week after supporting the idea for months

Elon Musk says Twitter will open source its algorithm next week after supporting the idea for months

Musk polled Twitter users last year about whether to make the algorithm open source, which he says would "solve both trust and efficacy."
Twitter's algorithm will be made open source next week, Elon Musk said Tuesday.

"Prepare to be disappointed at first when our algorithm is made open source next week, but it will improve rapidly!" he said in a tweet on Tuesday responding to a user who said they'd be "truly impressed" if that happened.

"Open source" typically refers to software or source code that's publicly accessible to be viewed, modified, and redistributed by anyone.

Musk, who calls himself a "free speech absolutist" and has polled users to make major decisions at Twitter, has repeatedly said in the past that he supports the idea of making the platform's algorithm open source, which is ostensibly a step towards greater transparency at the platform.

In March 2022, he polled his followers about their views on making the algorithm open source.

"I'm worried about de facto bias in 'the Twitter algorithm' having a major effect on public discourse," he tweeted. "How do we know what's really happening?"

Thomas Davidson, a Rutgers University sociology professor and expert on hate speech on social media, previously told Insider that making Twitter's algorithm open source and available to researchers could help counter extremist speech and identify how it spreads.

Musk has sparred with Jack Dorsey, Twitter's cofounder and former CEO, over the platform's algorithm.

"You are being manipulated by the algorithm in ways you don't realize," Musk said last May of the default Twitter feed. "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."

Dorsey responded that the default feed, which shows tweets based on popularity and a user's interests, was "designed simply to save you time when you are away from app for a while."

In a later follow-up, Musk concluded, "Open source is the way to go to solve both trust and efficacy."
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