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Elon Musk suggests Twitter could open source its algorithm ‘next week’

Elon Musk suggests Twitter could open source its algorithm 'next week'

A new tweet from Twitter boss Elon Musk suggests the company is preparing to open source its algorithm as soon as next week — of course, it’s all a joke.

However, Musk has long been a supporter of the idea that Twitter’s recommendation algorithm should be open source, repeatedly declaring that belief before taking over the helm of the social network and again in April 2022, announcing his intention to become Twitter’s CEO.

Today in response to a tweet that urged him to open Twitter, Musk commented “Prepare to be disappointed when our algorithm is made open source next week,” then noting that “this is a rapid improvement”.

If serious, this would be one of the first commitments that refers to any sort of deadline for Twitter’s algorithm to open up — and one watcher will be watching to see if that’s actually been accomplished.

As TechCrunch’s Paul Sowers reported in December, Twitter has been under increasing pressure from others in the broader open source community, including alternative Mastodon, which saw a surge in use following Musk’s acquisition of the microblogging network in October.

Meanwhile, Tumblr owner and Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg recently said that his company’s blogging platform will adopt the same ActivityPub protocol that now powers Mastodon. Shortly thereafter, Flickr CEO Don MacAskill began weighing a similar plan.

Open sourcing Twitter’s algorithms could also help keep lawmakers and regulators at bay amid growing political interest in how the social platform’s content recommendations work. The US Supreme Court is now the only US Not only is the Supreme Court hearing a debate on the role of YouTube’s algorithms in recommending ISIS videos to users.

There have also been talks about the need for Tiktok oversight, which has become more heated after the news of manipulation of viral trends came to the fore. And also spied on journalists. By open sourcing, Twitter can hope to avoid similar scrutiny.

Furthermore, Musk may deflect attention from how he allegedly asked Twitter engineers to investigate why his own Twitter engagement was dropping, which then forced an algorithmic change that boosted his tweets. . – something that has now been attributed to a bug.

Elon Musk, of course, isn’t the first Twitter executive to suggest that open sourcing would be the best way forward. Notably, Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey last year expressed regret that Twitter was ever spun off from the company, saying that instead, Twitter should be built around an open and verifiable protocol. should be made as such.

He shared the same idea with Musk over text messages — it came up during the legal discovery process related to Musk’s litigation against Twitter when he tried to back out of the deal. In the texts, Dorsey said that Twitter should be based on an “open source protocol, funded by a foundation,” to which Musk replied, “Super interesting idea.”

Dorsey is now moving to build on that vision with BlueSky, an open source project spun off from Twitter that is developing a decentralized social networking protocol known as ADX. Although Bluesky has yet to publicly launch its app, which would showcase its system in action.

Some people who signed up for Bluesky’s waiting list were emailed a survey last week asking for more information about themselves and their preferred platform. The email indicated that BlueSky was close to utility, noting that the waiting list had seen more than 1 million sign-ups and that people would be invited to test the BlueSky app in “the coming weeks”.

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