Twitter has blogged about the decision and shared the code that determines which tweets appear on your timeline on GitHub. It explains the ranking and filtering criteria used by the algorithm to choose which tweets to display in the For You timeline.
The “recommendation pipeline is made up of three main stages,” according to a blog post on Twitter. It compiles “the best Tweets from various recommendation sources” before using “a machine learning model” to rate them. Finally, before displaying them on your timeline, it filters away tweets from users you’ve blocked, tweets you’ve already seen, or tweets that are inappropriate for work.
CEO Elon Musk has been previewing the change for some time; in a 2022 poll he conducted of his followers asking if they thought Twitter’s algorithm should be open source, nearly 83 percent of respondents indicated that they did. He said it would happen within a week in February, but earlier this month he extended the deadline to March 31.
Most of the recommendation algorithm will be made open source today. The rest will follow.
Acid test is that independent third parties should be able to determine, with reasonable accuracy, what will probably be shown to users.
No doubt, many embarrassing issues will be… https://t.co/41U4oexIev
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 31, 2023
When the algorithm is revealed, Musk has been prepping his audience to be disappointed. People will “discover many silly things” because it is “overly complex & not fully understood internally,” he has said, but he has also vowed to remedy problems as they are found. He tweeted, “Providing code transparency will at first be extremely embarrassing, but it should lead to rapid improvement in recommendation quality.”
Our “algorithm” is overly complex & not fully understood internally. People will discover many silly things , but we’ll patch issues as soon as they’re found!
We’re developing a simplified approach to serve more compelling tweets, but it’s still a work in progress. That’ll also…
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 17, 2023