Elon Musk appeared on Twitter to offer a $1 million reward for help finding the source of “botnets”. One user identified a negative feedback loop in Twitter’s algorithm that hurts accounts when they are blocked.
Elon Musk offered a $1 million reward if the source of “botnets” allegedly targeting reputation scores could be identified after Twitter made some of its algorithms open-source on Friday.
Twitter released coding information showing how it recommended tweets to followers on the For You feed.
In a Twitter thread, Steven Tee shared his analysis of the information, concluding that Twitter Blue is algorithmically promoted.
He added that the algorithm was prone to creating a “negative feedback loop” that would lower a user’s “reputation score”. Getting blocked, muted, and receiving reports of abuse or spam all affect a user’s score.
User El Gato Malo cited the thread alleging that this was how “botnets” were able to damage access to some accounts.
According to cybersecurity company Cloudflare, a botnet refers to a group of computers that have been infected with malware and are being controlled by a single actor.
The user said that by controlling multiple accounts, botnets were able to block, unfollow and report certain accounts en masse.
Twitter CEO Musk responded, “Who is behind these botnets? Million dollar reward for conviction.”
The user suggested to Musk that only muting, blocking and reporting activity of verified accounts should count towards a “reputation score”.
The release of Twitter’s open-source algorithm revealed some interesting quirks.
Blogger Jane Wong pointed out that if Musk wrote a tweet, Twitter’s algorithm specifically labels it.
The company appears to label prominent figures including Jack Dorsey, Katy Perry, Stephen Curry and Barack Obama as “test accounts,” according to Wong.
Musk is leaning forward in a plan to increase the amplification of tweets from verified accounts to increase subscriptions to Twitter Blue and revenue. He plans to only allow tweets from verified accounts and have those users follow you on feed.
According to Twitter, “legacy verified accounts,” which were verified by Twitter prior to Musk’s acquisition based largely on notability, will begin losing their verification points later this week.
Some celebrities have expressed their opposition to paying Checkmark, along with news outlets including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times – and Insider.