Recently leaked documents reveal that Twitter has been giving preferential treatment to a select group of public figures, referred to as “VIPs,” including politicians and celebrities. This news supports the claims of Twitter conspiracists who have long theorized that the social media platform and its algorithm have been prioritizing certain accounts, making their tweets more visible to users even if they don’t follow them.
According to the documents viewed by Platformer, the list of boosted accounts is around 35 names long and was initiated after Elon Musk took over the reins of Twitter. The list includes Musk himself, as well as NBA star LeBron James, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, YouTube star MrBeast, President Joe Biden, and political commentator Ben Shapiro, among others.
The usernames associated with the list are programmed to receive increased visibility, which includes the ability to override part of Twitter’s algorithm that limits the number of posts from any singular account that can be viewed. While Twitter has not publicly commented on the leaked documents, the news is likely to fuel the ongoing controversy surrounding the social media platforms’ algorithmic bias and preferential treatment of certain accounts.
The revelation comes shortly after it was reported that Elon Musk valued Twitter at $20 billion, a whopping $22 billion less than what he paid for the company when he became its sole owner last fall. Musk has expressed his desire to take the company to new heights by creating a “clear but difficult path” toward a tenfold $250 billion valuation.
In a related development, Twitter and Musk recently filed a lawsuit after part of the platform’s source code was leaked and posted on Github before being pulled down by the hosting site. This incident highlights the growing concern around data privacy and security in the digital age.
Lastly, Twitter’s decision to remove blue checkmarks for legacy verified users, starting April 1, has generated mixed reactions from users. This move means that profiles not affiliated with a verified organization will have to pay for Musk’s $7.99 a month subscription service called Twitter Blue to retain their verified status.