What happened when Elon Musk made his Twitter account private
Twitter CEO Elon Musk made his Twitter account private for a day to determine the level of engagement his tweets received. Musk decided to do so after Ian Miles Cheong, a right-wing commentator, tweeted that his posts received more likes and views in private mode. Musk's decision to go private confused many users. Now, let's see what he learned from the experiment.
Why does this story matter?
- One of Musk's promises when he took over Twitter was to end the difference in engagement some users received on the platform compared to others. But engagement and reach issues have not been fixed, at least according to several conservative users.
- Many used Twitter's newly introduced 'view count' feature to prove that the platform still discriminates against people with certain political beliefs.
Conservative users posted the difference in the reach of tweets
Popular conservative Twitter accounts, including Libs of TikTok and Ben Shapiro, joined Cheong saying that their tweets received more engagement in private mode. Cheong posted the result of his experiment showing a tweet he posted while public received 11k views and 28.3k views while in private mode. According to him, enabling the private setting improves the reach of tweets by a factor of five.
The tweet that led to Musk's experiment
The experiment helped identify some issues with the system: Musk
Musk has embraced the process of trial and error since he acquired Twitter. He did not shy away from Cheong's claim as well. The billionaire with over 127 million followers locked himself out for a day to test whether private tweets receive more views than public ones. After the experiment, Musk said that it helped identify "some issues with the system."
Looks like Musk got more views in private mode too
Only followers can see tweets from private accounts
The visibility of Twitter posts is set to public by default. This allows anyone on the platform to interact with the tweet. On the other hand, only followers of a private account will be able to see its tweets. Non-followers will have to send a follow request, which can be accepted or denied by the account holder.
Musk did not reveal the reason for the problem
Although he admitted there are some issues with the system, Musk did not specify the reason for Twitter's latest controversy. It could be possible that sharing posts with followers increases the chance of them getting propagated for a more extended period, as social algorithms tend to work on upvotes. More followers equal more upvotes and hence, better engagement.