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Did Elon Musk really fire a Twitter engineer for dip in his popularity ratings?


Elon Musk has reportedly fired one of Twitter’s two remaining principal engineers for stating that the Tesla CEO’s popularity has nosedived over the last year. According to the tech news site Platformer, Musk on Tuesday held a meeting to discuss the dip in engagement on Twitter.

Finding it ‘ridiculous’ that despite having 128 million followers, he could only garner ‘tens of thousands of impressions’ since he took over Twitter, Musk questioned top engineers over the waning traction. An engineer, whose name was withheld by the Platformer, gave a plausible explanation that public interest had faded since Musk’s $44 billion, chaotic acquisition of Twitter. Referring to Google Trends, the employees showed that Musk’s popularity soared at ‘100 points’ last April, but had since plunged to a mere 9.

Musk didn’t take the news too well and repeatedly said, ‘You’re fired,’ the report stated. From previous research, the employees had found that there was no artificial restriction of engagement and the algorithm was not biased against Musk. Unhappy with the engineers’ conclusions, Musk has reportedly ordered them to track the number of times his posts are recommended.

Last week, Musk had locked his account for a day to test a theory claimed by some users that tweets from private accounts had more reach. Twitter unveiled the option of public view count for all tweets in December. Musk had high hopes from the feature to show the world how ‘alive’ the platform is. It has had the opposite effect, in fact.

Twitter is rolling out View Count, so you can see how many times a tweet has been seen! This is normal for video.Shows how much more alive Twitter is than it may seem, as over 90% of Twitter users read, but don’t tweet, reply or like, as those are public actions.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 22, 2022 According to Platformer’s sources, the view stats itself may be causing the downward spiral in engagement, as the now-smaller like and retweet buttons were more difficult to click.

Twitter’s increasing glitches are another contributing factor to the fall in reach, the report added. On Wednesday, Twitter underwent a global outage and many users, logged out and unable to tweet, received a notification of reaching the ‘daily limit’. According to Platformer, employees are struggling to adjust to Musk’s product requests which change based on replies to tweets and are often left pondering over the ‘least fireable’ answer to the ‘Chief Twit’s’ questions.

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