back to article Musk's view count antics are perfect cover for Twitter's paid API failure

As another potential revenue stream for Twitter is held up, Elon Musk still seems to be more concerned with his tweet view count, confirming Monday that he'd undone every block he ever placed on his account. Musk's move, and the sudden flood of Musk tweets infesting everyone's feeds, comes shortly after the Twitter Dev account …

  1. Plest Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "Egotism is the anesthetic to deaden the pain of being a fool." - Dr Schofield

    Nuff said in Elon's case!

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      Boffin

      Algorithms

      "Impression count for Musk" = "# of impressions" X 1,000,000

      "Impression count for Everybody Else" = "# of impressions"

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Algorithms

        That would never work. The correct algorithm is

        MuskImpressionCount = RealImpressionCount*1000000+DaysSinceTweet*100000+SecondsSinceTweet%86400

        It doesn't work unless he can watch the numbers tick up, and anyone knows that a number with a lot of zeros at the end is either rounded too much or made up completely. The question is whether any of Twitter's engineers has participated in the underhanded C contest and can hide this from the other engineers when they make some unrelated changes.

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: Algorithms

          Although the compiler/interpreter is quite happy parsing that expression without the spaces humans are not.

          Being a bit Old School I tend to put parentheses around things even if they're not, strictly speaking, needed. But then I don't like tracking down obscure faults with a debugger, its way easier to not give the system a chance to get it wrong in the first place.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Algorithms

            Well corrected. I'm tempted to claim that my poor formatting is because it can help when hiding code to give the reviewer something else to correct, but in fact I just typed it quickly. Have an upvote. And if anyone wants the better-formatted version, it's as follows:

            MuskImpressionCount = (RealImpressionCount * 1000000) + (DaysSinceTweet * 100000) + (SecondsSinceTweet % 86400)

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: "Egotism is the anesthetic to deaden the pain of being a fool." - Dr Schofield

      He's a twit, the definition is accurate and that's why I've always laughed at the concept of posting on twitter, but have never wasted any time looking at what twits are saying.

  2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

    Developers

    "...part of our efforts to create an optimal experience for the developer community."

    Presumably these efforts are to drive developers away, to less hostile platforms, where their efforts won't be held hostage to sudden demands for payment. If I was a working with anything Twitter-related, this would be the optimal experience for me.

  3. zuckzuckgo Silver badge
    Devil

    Hostile Makeover

    Careful, If you keep putting out articles critical of Elon you risk being bought out by him just to control the commentary.

    Or is that the plan? Worked for Twitter investors.

  4. AMBxx Silver badge
    Coat

    Who's left?

    They lost all the right-wingers when they banned Trump.

    They lost all the left-wingers when the unbanned Trump.

    I can't see there can be that many people other than bots and showbiz remaining!

    1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Re: Who's left?

      You forgot, "they lost all the advertisers when they unbanned all the previously-banned-for-hate-speech accounts."

      And "they then compounded this by breaking the mechanism that proved people were who they said they are."

      For some reason, major advertisers don't like to see their products associated with content that promotes antisemitism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of hate speech, or indeed with fake accounts from scammers. Funny that.

      1. First Light

        Re: Who's left?

        Or child sexual abuse images which they are failing to deal with properly.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/06/technology/twitter-child-sex-abuse.html

    2. arachnoid2

      Re: Who's left?

      After trying to ban them he now needs the bots to post likes on his posts

      1. Grunchy Silver badge

        Re: Who's left?

        … there’s an app for that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Who's left?

          ... except it doesn't work any more because of the API lockout.

  5. Snowy Silver badge
    Facepalm

    To late

    Not many want to pay for API access, those that did not left and they will not be coming back.

  6. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    It's not entirely clear if Musk's changes have had the effect he wanted

    his latest tweet at the time of writing indicates more work is happening, probably to help him maintain his spot as one of the world's most popular, and therefore coolest, people

    "You have automatically followed @elonmusk. Unfollowing @elonmusk or failing to like every @elonmusk tweet is a violation of Twitter T&Cs. A first offence will mean you will only see @elonmusk posts for 24 hours. Subsequent offences will lead to longer restrictions. Failing to open the Twitter app or trying to close your account will lead to all @elonmusk tweets being posted through your letterbox as hard copies. This may be halted by emigrating to Mars, where a paid and correctly used Twitter subscription will be necessary to obtain your daily supply of MuskOxygen™."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not entirely clear if Musk's changes have had the effect he wanted

      > your daily supply of MuskOxygen™

      Not to be confused with Musk-O-Gin, The daily beverage administered to help keep the Martian rabble under control.

    2. Timop

      Re: It's not entirely clear if Musk's changes have had the effect he wanted

      Can't stop thinking about situation where someone realizes 5 minutes after the launch that he/she really should have done some background checks first.

      Feel free to use this as a plot for 9 months long slow TV horror movie. Make sure nobody can leave as soon the film starts rolling.

    3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: It's not entirely clear if Musk's changes have had the effect he wanted

      Unfollowing @elonmusk or failing to like every @elonmusk tweet is a violation of Twitter T&Cs.

      Looks like we're getting there.

      TL;DR: After Biden's tweets about the Super Bowl got more engagement than Musk's he demanded Twitter engineers fix it:

      By Monday afternoon, “the problem” had been “fixed.” Twitter deployed code to automatically “greenlight” all of Musk’s tweets, meaning his tweets will bypass Twitter’s filters designed to show people the best content possible. The algorithm now artificially boosted Musk’s tweets by a factor of 1,000 – a constant score that ensured his tweets rank higher than anyone else’s in the feed.

  7. Scene it all

    "Create an optimal experience" means "fix all the bugs we just introduced".

    1. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

      Probably a PR charm-offensive claiming the bugs don't exist. Okay, charmless offensive featuring Musk's "humour": I still haven't quite got over the fail of the renowned comedian's "let that sink in". D:

  8. aerogems Silver badge
    FAIL

    And of course

    instead of creating a bot that would send periodic reports, or just setting up a custom dashboard for Twitler -- you know, the sensible solution -- his massive ego demands that EVERYONE be able to see how many views his comments get. If it also allows other attention whores to have one more metric to obsess over in their race to the bottom, that's fine, just so long as it's clear Twitler's account is king.

  9. DS999 Silver badge

    So he's become Tom from Myspace?

    He might have more in common with Tom down the road, if he kills Twitter's value so much he ends up selling it for the same $580 million Tom sold Myspace for (he could have got a lot more if he'd sold out a few years earlier)

  10. Howard Sway Silver badge

    "Please stay tuned while we make adjustments to the uh … 'algorithm'"

    It really is making him take leave of his senses. If his needy ego is feeling damaged because his new toy has publicly shown that whilst he has many proclaimed followers, not many are active worshippers, publicly stating that he's going to rewrite an algorithm so that it says he's more popular is not the cunning plan he thinks it is. Because when he proclaims "Look! I'm actually more popular!", everybody is just going to point out that he simply changed the code to make it say that.

    Which will make him look even more pathetically needy.

  11. trevorde Silver badge

    Best Twitter advertisers

    gun manufacturers

    arms dealers

    spyware makers

    dating apps

    betting apps

    crypto coin hucksters

  12. Matthew "The Worst Writer on the Internet" Saroff

    Am I the Only One to Quote the Original Ghosbusters?

    It's true, this man has no dick.

    https://youtu.be/b6dySBLSx8Y

    1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Re: Am I the Only One to Quote the Original Ghosbusters?

      The Giant Twinkie would do a better job of running Twitter.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Am I the Only One to Quote the Original Ghosbusters?

      One of the best deadpan deliveries of all time!

  13. AdamWill

    I mean

    "Musk's claims Twitter is getting close to breaking even"

    Well, technically speaking, those claims are true. If you have no revenue and no costs, you're breaking even. Musk has been tanking revenue while also firing as many people as possible and driving those he hasn't fired to quit, which sure reduces salary costs. He's also come up with the genius plan of not paying any bills, which cuts all the other costs.

    So, if he just keeps going on this path, fairly soon Twitter will have no revenue and no costs, and will indeed be breaking even!

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: I mean

      With a normal business "breaking even" includes paying the bills. Twitter can get away with not paying many bills for a while but to come close to alternative break even Twitter would have to not pay the interest on its debts. Musk hasn't tried that yet. It would be a proper test of all the new lawyers he is hiring - if he pays them.

    2. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: I mean

      But if you suddenly have to pay more than a billion dollars a year in interest, you are nowhere near breaking even.

      1. AdamWill

        Re: I mean

        ssssssshhh. the other part of Musk's genius plan is to pretend that's not a thing, and hope it'll go away. I was helping.

  14. Winkypop Silver badge
    Alert

    Not waving, drowning!

    The Emperor is going under.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Twitter isn't really struggling

    Because all the same outlets keep referring to Twitter posts in articles, people still keep releasing big news stories on Twitter, etc, etc.

    It's still the go to, because the media has become reliant on it for the lazy pretend-journos they now hire, who wouldn't know how to find and research an original story without it.

    1. Adrian 4

      Re: Twitter isn't really struggling

      I logged out of twitter for some temporary reason which conveniently means it now prompts me to log in. That's sufficient friction to stop me idly reading it, which is a win.

      However, before I did that I was finding it less and less interesting. The corporate writers were 90% of the feed instead of 10%. Most of the remainers are dual-posting on Mastodon anyway, and that functions without discarding many of their posts.

      So twitter had already become, for me, just an ad channel. Ads are supposed to piggyback on real content to get read. They have no attraction in their own right.

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