(San Francisco) Elon Musk announced Friday that his Twitter platform would make public the algorithm used to recommend tweets to each user, a transparent approach he has long advocated without putting it into practice.
“Twitter will release all the computer code used to recommend tweets on March 31,” said the social network’s unpredictable owner and boss.
“People are going to find out a lot of silly things, but we’ll fix the issues as soon as we find them,” he added.
Opening the service’s black box was among his stated motivations for buying Twitter last year, as was the company’s “potential” and advocacy for a more absolute view of free speech.
But his first four months at the head of the network were above all marked by waves of massive and abrupt layoffs, the flight of numerous advertisers, the chaotic launch of a paid subscription and technical breakdowns.
The multi-billionaire explained that Twitter’s recommendation algorithms were complicated and poorly understood, even within the California group.
“Being transparent about code is going to be very embarrassing at first, but should lead to quick improvements in the quality of recommendations,” he said.
“We’re developing a simplified approach to showcasing more interesting tweets,” he continued.
The transparency measure could appease authorities and lawmakers who want to know how the platform works.
Many elected officials, including Republicans, believe it is biased against them, while human rights NGOs criticize the service, especially under Elon Musk, for not sufficiently addressing misinformation and harassment.
Making the code public also means that other developers or potential rivals could use it.
So far, no major alternative to Twitter has emerged. Most elected politicians, organizations and personalities still use it to communicate.
Jack Dorsey, the former head of the network, was a proponent of public code (open source) programs.