We’ve entered uncharted territory, folks. Elon Musk tweeted something that is actually basically correct for once.
Musk, who may or may not buy Twitter soon (“may not” is currently in the lead), did what he always does on Saturday and posted some thoughts on his Twitter account. Among them was a call for Twitter users to switch their feeds from the algorithmically sorted “main” version to the “latest,” where tweets are displayed in reverse chronological order. In other words, the way Twitter was meant to be read all the time, despite a recent attempt to force the start timeline on users.
Musk’s logic is that the algorithm can subconsciously manipulate you. This is, to Musk’s credit, a pretty reasonable point of view. backed by research. A mathematical equation that only shows you what it thinks you want to see will, over time, make other sources of information more difficult to accept.
Former Twitter founder Jack Dorsey apparently took a bit of offense to the idea, saying the algorithmic feed was simply designed for people who don’t obsessively check Twitter. In a subsequent response to another user, Dorsey admitted that the algorithm may have “unintended consequences” but maintained that it was not designed to manipulate users.
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Again, to be fair to Musk, he didn’t say the algorithm was intended manipulate, just make it happen. All of this is an excuse to tell you that, at the most basic level, Musk is right about this: You need to switch your Twitter feed from “home” to “latest” soon. Don’t let the machine tweet you.
The only reasonable way to classify Internet content is in chronological order. Time doesn’t manipulate, at least not as easily as these algorithms do.