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  /  Business   /  Elon Musk Cannot Save Twitter’s Reputation by Open-Sourcing its Algorithm!

Elon Musk Cannot Save Twitter’s Reputation by Open-Sourcing its Algorithm!

The idea, of the tech giant Elon Musk to open-source Twitter’s algorithm might not be fruitful as per the experts.

So far Elon Musk has been a bucket of innovative ideas for Twitter and among them, the one that he’s pitched most fervently is making the platform’s algorithms open source. The Tesla tycoon proposed the plan before his buyout bid was disclosed, reiterated it the day his offer was revealed, and pitched it once again after Twitter agreed to the deal.

Elon Musk outlined his proposal at a TED conference on April 14 by saying, “It’s just really important that people have both the reality and the perception that they’re able to speak freely within the bounds of the law. So, one of the things that I believe Twitter should do is open-source the algorithm.”

Musk argued that disclosing what amplifies or downranks tweets would reduce the risk of “behind the scenes manipulation.” The approach has won support from some transparency advocates and critics of Twitter’s content moderation. They argue that the move will reveal how Twitter determines what you see on your timeline — and what you don’t. “It has the potential to turn Twitter into a truly trusted platform, where users would understand why certain tweets show up on top of the list, and all concerns about behind-the-scenes secrecy or bias would be removed,” said Marc Linster, the CTO of the open-source database firm EDB in a report.

These concerns have been rampant with Google and Facebook. This open-sourcing move could be game-changing for social media overalls. Skeptics, however, have questioned the plan’s feasibility. They note that Twitter is composed of various feeds, from the Trending section to your Home timeline, each of which is controlled by a complex mix of recommendation systems and human decisions. These processes produce results that even their developers don’t fully comprehend. Some of them reportedly mocked Musk by adding a (now-removed) public repository on the company’s GitHub platform — with zero code.

There are various other factors behind a tweet’s ranking. They include content that enters the platform, each user’s profile, the algorithms’ training data, moderation rules, and the code that trained the models. These constitute an enormous pool of data, which would be tough to trawl through and costly to disseminate.


Potential Dangers of The Open-Source Proposal

The information could be copied by competitors, provide a tempting target for cybercriminals, and violate user privacy. It could also hinder another of Musk’s ambitions: “defeat the spambots.” On the other hand, open-source offers new opportunities to find vulnerabilities and flaws.