Elon Musk has announced that Twitter will make public the algorithms used to recommend tweets to each user, a transparent approach it has long advocated without putting it into practice. “Twitter will open source all the code used to recommend tweets on March 31st,” said the unpredictable owner and head of the social network. “People will find out a lot of stupid things, but we will fix the problems as soon as we find them,” he added .
The opening of the black box of the service was part of the reasons that led to the acquisition of Twitter last year, as well as the “potential” of the company and the defense of a more absolute vision of freedom of expression. But his first four months at the helm of the network were marked above all by waves of massive and abrupt layoffs, the flight of numerous advertisers, the chaotic launch of a paid subscription and technical failures.
The multibillionaire explained that the algorithms of Twitter they were complicated and little known, even within the California group. “Being transparent about your code will be very embarrassing at first, but should lead to rapid improvements in the quality of recommendations,” she said. “We’re developing a streamlined approach to highlighting the most interesting tweets,” she continued.
The transparency measure could appease authorities and lawmakers who want to know how the platform works. Many politicians, especially Republicans, believe it is biased against them, while human rights NGOs criticize the service, especially under Elon Musk, for not fighting enough against disinformation and harassment. Making the code “open source” also means that other developers or potential rivals could use it. No major alternative to Twitter has emerged so far. Most politicians, organizations and elected figures still use it to communicate. Jack Dorsey, the former head of the network, was a proponent of open source programs.