Elon Musk Went Private On Twitter to Find an Issue With the Algorithm That 'Should Be Addressed By Next Week'

The Twitter owner was in search of a flaw with the social media platform's algorithm.

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By Emily Rella

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Elon Musk is not exactly subtle when it comes to his hot takes and contentious commentary on Twitter, the social media platform he purchased for an estimated $43 billion.

But this week, Musk suddenly decided to make his account private, only allowing those who follow him to see what he was posting.

This wasn't, however, out of vanity or a need for privacy, but for a strategic reason.

Related: Elon Musk's Twitter 2.0: 'Long Hours, High Intensity' for Workers

Musk, who boasts over 127 million followers on the platform, locked his account on Wednesday to test Twitter's a potential issue with its algorithm that had been flagged by several users. Once making their accounts private, engagement on certain Tweets would begin to skyrocket as opposed to lower numbers on the same exact Tweets when their accounts were public.

This is of course most notable in accounts with mass amounts of followers.

Twitter user Ian Miles Cheong, who has over 468,900 followers on the platform, caught Musk's attention by noting the stark difference he found in just a five-minute period of making his account private, then back to public via a test Tweet he sent out to followers.

"The results are in. Setting your account to private vastly improves your reach by a factor of 5x. Zero algorithmic disruption," Cheong said.

Related: Elon Musk's Twitter Ends Trust and Safety Council

Musk replied that Chong's test was "extremely concerning" and decided to do the same for himself.

Though Musk did not yet publicly disclose what his results were, he did ambiguously reveal to followers that he discovered some findings.

"This helped identify some issues with the system," he said. "Should be addressed by next week."

The thought is that something funky in Twitter's algorithm under Musk has been pushing certain content to users' feeds that they don't necessarily desire to see, while other content seems to fall to the wayside without reason.

Musk is currently serving as interim CEO of the company.

Related: Elon Musk Is the New Owner of Twitter: What Happens Now?

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

News Writer

Emily Rella is a news writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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