Mark Cuban is still frustrated with Elon Musk’s change to Twitter. This time, he’s accusing Musk of rigging the platform to promote his own tweets and viewpoints.
Last week, Cuban wrote that he took a deep dive into how Twitter determines who sees which posts.
At the core of the issue, Cuban said, is that the site’s algorithm ranks higher the tweets with which your followers interact.
This metric is a good way to see popular posts. But it’s very convenient that Musk, as Cuban points out, is the most followed person on Twitter.
“The biggest Twitter account has the biggest reach,” Cuban wrote. “So who @elonmusk connects with on Twitter has a huge impact on what an indeterminate number of people see in their For You timeline.”
Cuban said those algorithms are more influential than before because of Twitter’s new “For You” timeline. In the past, the platform allowed users to choose how often they see tweets from people they don’t follow.
Now, when users open the site, they automatically see a “For You” timeline, which includes posts “50% in the network and 50% out of the network,” according to Twitter.
There’s still a feed that only shows tweets from accounts you personally follow, but it’s now a windowed over.
According to Cuban’s logic, the extra clicks required to get users there will keep most of them on the “for you” timeline. This will make even the most followed Twitter accounts like Musk more influential.
This is the latest in a string of complaints Cuba has filed against Twitter. Last month, he told CNBC Make It that he was losing 800 to 1,000 followers every day, despite paying for the platform’s $8-per-month subscriber program, Twitter Blue.
Cuban tweets complaining about Elon Musk had gone publicly unanswered until last week. This was after the Dallas Mavericks owner wrote that “it is hypocrisy to say that Twitter is the home of free speech” because Musk chooses to “put his thumb on the scale”.
Elon Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” responded: “Suggestions for improvement are welcome.”
Cuban responded, telling Musk Twitter should go back to allowing users to take control of their timelines. “Allow people to choose whether shown or hidden for you, or allow you to user-control the % shown in network vs. network tweets,” Cuban wrote.
Elon Musk has not publicly responded to Cuba or responded to a CNBC Make It request for comment.
Cuban still has 8.8 million followers, but he said he worries the changed algorithm will affect how he promotes his online pharmacy Cost Plus Drugs.
“I thought I was/am on some Twitter list that doesn’t show me as a potential follow to new or existing users,” Cuban told CNBC Make It in an email. “I thought that maybe, by paying the annual contract, it would change. It didn’t.”