Twitter Engineers Filled Feeds With Elon Musk's Tweets Because He Was Jealous of Joe Biden

Musk reportedly threatened to fire the rest of the company's engineering team if they didn't increase the number of views on his tweets.

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An illustration featuring cutouts of recent Musk tweets on top of one another.
Musk, Musk, and only Musk. I guess that’s what $44 billion will buy you.
Illustration: Jody Serrano / Gizmodo

Our worst suspicions over why Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s tweets flooded user feeds on Monday have apparently been confirmed. Twitter engineers purportedly created a special system to increase their boss’ view counts and the reason is just as petty as you can imagine.

Hours after the Super Bowl ended, Musk’s cousin James sent a message marked “high urgency” to Twitter engineers in the middle of the night, the Platformer newsletter reported. James asked engineers for help solving a big problem, which had apparently made CEO Musk so mad that he had hopped on his private jet and was heading to San Francisco that night. The problem was not, as a reasonable person might expect, the Twitter outage that occurred during Rihanna’s halftime show on the platform’s biggest night of the year.


In fact, the issue was much more childish. Musk was pissed that President Joe Biden’s tweet wishing the Philadelphia Eagles good luck had gotten more engagement (29 million impressions) than his own tweet blessing the Eagles (9.1 million impressions), according to Platformer.


In an apparent tantrum, Musk deleted his tweet about the Eagles after the team lost.

A screenshot of Musk's deleted tweet that reads: "Go Eagles!!!" with American flag emojis.
Elon’s deleted Eagles tweet, as captured by the Internet Archive and many other Twitter users.
Screenshot: Jody Serrano / Gizmodo

Once Musk got to San Francisco, he summoned Twitter’s engineering team and told them that if they didn’t fix the engagement problem (*cough* increase the views on his tweets *cough*), he would fire them. Platformer found that about 80 Twitter employees were assigned to the task.

The team worked overnight to try to find out why their boss’ tweets weren’t as popular as they once were. One reason could be that Musk had gotten muted or blocked by many Twitter users sick of his constant antics, they theorized. However, it also didn’t make sense that Twitter’s system wasn’t promoting Musk’s tweets to his followers and non-followers as much as it should, which pointed to a possible technical issue.


In the end, Twitter’s engineers created a special system to ensure more than 90% of Musk’s followers saw his tweets. The system allows Musk’s tweets to bypass Twitter’s content filters, which aim to show users the best tweets, as explained by Platformer. It also artificially boosts Musk’s tweets to guarantee they rank higher than anyone else’s in Twitter’s ‘For You’ feed. As a result of the change, many users were bombarded with Musk’s tweets in their feeds on Monday.

Musk seemed to confirm the new Twitter experience was filled with him, him, and mostly him, shortly after midnight on Tuesday. He tweeted out a famous meme of a girl forcing another to drink milk. In the meme, the girl holding the milk is labeled “Elon’s tweets” and the one being forced to drink the milk is labeled “Twitter.” Hours later, Musk informed the people that Twitter was making some “adjustments.”


“Please stay tuned while we make adjustments to the uh .… ‘algorithm,’” he said.


Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the billionaire stated he would probably start looking for a new CEO for Twitter towards the end of 2023, meaning Twitter users are still in for a heck of a ride over the next few months.

Musk has been obsessed with the amount of engagement he gets on Twitter for weeks. On Feb. 7, he fired one of Twitter’s two remaining principal engineers who told him his engagement numbers might be dropping because people are simply not that interested in him anymore. Earlier this month, the Twitter CEO decided to make his account private after his right-wing friends told him that it had increased their views.


One Twitter employee who spoke to Platformer about Twitter’s new Musk-filled feed pointed out that his boss was being a hypocrite. After making such a big fuss about what was broken and manipulated by previous Twitter management before his reign, Musk was now manipulating Twitter to ensure everyone saw what he had to say.

“I think we’re past the point of believing that he actually wants what’s best for everyone here,” the employee told the outlet.


To those on the outside, that has been apparent for a long time now. Elon wants what’s best for Elon—whatever the cost.