Twitter CEO Elon Musk announced he was making his Twitter account private early on Wednesday to determine the level of engagement his tweets received.
Musk made the decision after Ian Miles Cheong, a right-wing commentator and regular rabble rouser tweeted that he had set his account to private on Tuesday and found that he received more likes and views on his posts while in private mode. He said the results showed that the same tweet received more engagement when his account was private than the same tweet did when it was set to public.
Cheong posted the results of his experience showing that a tweet he posted while public received 11k views while the same tweet garnered 28.3k views while the account was private. Musk responded to Cheong’s post, telling him that the results are “extremely concerning” and announced he would conduct his own experiment.
Musk wrote in a Twitter post, “Made my account private until tomorrow morning to test whether you see my private tweets more than my public ones.” The change means only Musk’s 127 million followers are able to see his posts.
Only followers of private Twitter accounts can view the user’s tweets or will need to send a follow request to view the posts. When users sign up for a Twitter account, the posts are set to public by default, allowing anyone to interact with and view the account’s tweets. To change the account to private, the user can change their profile to private in their account settings.
Once the account is set to private, Twitter users will need to submit a request to follow the account and which can then be accepted or denied by the account holder. However, existing followers will still have access to the tweets until and unless the account holder blocks them.
Musk seems eager to please those on the right side of the political spectrum. He expressed support for Representative Kevin McCarthy’s bumpy bid for House Speaker, and most recently had to say sorry for spreading conspiracy theories around former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband’s brutal home invasion and attack.