In the end of January something started to happen and Twitter-users reacted to seeing the tweets from the platform’s owner Elon Musk everywhere. Users suspected that Elon had tweaked the algorithm to boost his own tweets. As a reaction to seeing a decrease of his own reach during the beginning of the year.
Later Elon Musk verified that Twitter had been making algorithmic adjustments (to boost his tweets). Digitalare.se decided to take a look at the numbers to see exactly how much he boosted the reach of his own tweets. We collected data from 245 tweets and 111 retweets from mid-December (from the first tweet on Elon’s account with number of “Views” showing) to the end of February.
Here are the results:
Views of Elon Musk’s tweets increased by 90% in February
In order to see how far Elon Musk’s tweets reached we collected data on Comments, Retweets, Likes and Views. Focusing on the latter the graph clearly shows that the reach of his tweets started to heavily increase in the beginning of February.
After a weak January where most of his tweets only got 10-30 million views something started to happen in the beginning of February. On the 4th of February Elon tweeted a single dot “.” that got 75 million views. After that the following tweets went back down to 7.5-35 million views. Then four days later on the 8th of February he tweeted another dot “.” that got 69 million views.
Summarizing the numbers for December, January and February here are the average number of views per tweet:
December: 69 tweets with average 42.1 million views per tweet.
January: 72 tweets with average 26.4 million views per tweet.
February: 104 tweets with average 50.2 million views per tweet.
That gives a 90% increase in average numbers of views for Elon Musk’s tweets comparing February with January.
Engagement ”only” up by 26% during the same period
Seeing a huge increase in the reach of his tweets surely the engagement must have followed? Yes, but not by as much as you might think.
Combining the number of comments, retweets and likes for each tweet we can see the total engagements for Elon Musk’s tweets. This graph does not have the same clear increase and appears to not have been as affected by the algorithmic changes as the views were.
Once again comparing the months and average number of engagements per tweet against each other we get a good picture of the changes. However, the engagements with Elon’s tweets didn’t see the same percentage increase as the views did.
December: 69 tweets with average 362.1 thousand engagements per tweet.
January: 72 tweets with average 235.0 thousand engagements per tweet.
February: 104 tweets with average 295.1 thousand engagement per tweet.
That gives a 26% increase in average engagements for Elon Musk’s tweets comparing February with January. Individually the average number of comments went down by 21%, Retweets increased 10% and likes increased 31%.
It is clear that Elon Musk decided to make changes to the reach of his own tweets in February. Looking at some suspicious tweets you can also pinpoint where they probably made some live tests by him tweeting a dot.
The reach seems to have gone down in March but I would not be surprised if a tweaked version of this new boosted algorithm eventually ends up behind a paywall (Twitter Blue, hello?)
Need to see the numbers to believe them? Request access to the data document of all tweets in the report by email: email@example.com.
Elon Musk’s tweets are like a living organism and the numbers are always changing / increasing so you may see slight differences from our numbers if you view the tweets at a later point. This report is based upon numbers collected by the 2nd of March 2023.
Elon Musks tweet letting the users vote wether or not he should step down as the CEO of Twitter has been exluded to make the graphs more viewable. The 360 million views for the tweet on 19th of december 2022 can be viewed here.
This is the english translated version of our original article in swedish.