Big Tech newsletter Platformer reported last week that Elon Musk fired a Twitter engineer who told him his popularity on the site was dropping, after firing thousands of other employees from the platform since taking over.
Musk has been “preoccupied” with why his tweets are not being seen by the vast majority of his 100 million followers, and asked engineers to help him investigate whether something is wrong with the platform’s algorithm that could be causing him to get only tens of thousands of impressions on some of his tweets.
He tried setting his account to private to see if that would help, but apparently it did not.
So on Tuesday, he had a powpow with some top engineers and advisers to work on figuring out a solution. After all, if Twitter doesn’t work right for its CEO, there could be big problems lurking.
“This is ridiculous”
“This is ridiculous,” he said, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the meeting. “I have more than 100 million followers, and I’m only getting tens of thousands of impressions.”
One of two principal engineers at Twitter dared to offer an idea: Musk’s popularity has been waning since he said he was going to buy Twitter in April 2022.
Using internal data, the engineers showed Musk that he had declined from a 100 popularity score in April to only a nine now.
It wasn’t what Musk wanted to hear, and he fired the employee on the spot. Employees have now been tasked with looking at how many times Musk’s tweets are recommended to see if that might be the problem.
Truth to power?
To give Musk the benefit of the doubt, he might have technical knowledge that made this engineer’s theory outrageously wrong or overly simplistic. He might have fired him because he thought a top engineer should have more knowledge or better expertise.
But maybe he just did it because the engineer told him the truth and he couldn’t take it. That engineer would not be the first person to be fired for speaking truth to power.
That old saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely comes to mind, but I hope it’s not true.
Right’s last hope
On the right, we hope Musk is holding it together because he’s our last hope of fixing the censorship problem that has begun to plague us on social media and other areas of Big Tech like Google.
Hopefully, Musk will figure out the problem and be able to fix it before he makes Twitter unusable.