Elon Musk took to Twitter to offer a $1 million reward for information leading to the discovery of the source of “botnets.” One user discovered a negative feedback loop in Twitter’s algorithm that harms blocked accounts.
After Twitter made some of its algorithms open-source on Friday, Elon Musk offered a $1 million reward if the source of “botnets” allegedly targeting reputation scores could be identified.
Twitter has released source code that demonstrates how it recommends tweets to followers in the For You feed.
Steven Tee shared his analysis of the data in a Twitter thread, concluding that Twitter Blue is algorithmically promoted.
He went on to say that the algorithm was prone to creating a “negative feedback loop,” lowering a user’s “reputation score.” Being blocked, muted, or receiving reports of abuse or spam all have an impact on a user’s score.
The thread was cited by user El Gato Malo, who claimed that this was how “botnets” were able to damage access to some accounts.
A botnet, according to the cybersecurity firm Cloudflare, is a collection of computers that have been infected with malware and are controlled by a single actor.
According to the user, botnets were able to block, unfollow, and report specific accounts en masse by controlling multiple accounts.
Who is behind these botnets?” tweeted Twitter CEO Musk. “There is a million dollar reward for conviction.”
Musk was advised by the user that only muting, blocking, and reporting activity of verified accounts should be counted towards a “reputation score.”
The public release of Twitter’s open-source algorithm revealed some intriguing anomalies. Blogger Jane Wong pointed out that if Musk writes a tweet, Twitter’s algorithm labels it specifically.
According to Wong, the company appears to label prominent figures such as Jack Dorsey, Katy Perry, Stephen Curry, and Barack Obama as “test accounts.”
Musk is pushing ahead with a plan to increase the amplification of tweets from verified accounts in order to increase Twitter Blue subscriptions and revenue. He intends to allow only verified accounts to tweet and to have those users follow you on feed.