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The Most In Depth Breakdown of the X Algorithm You'll Ever Read

Plus actionable tips for growing your account!

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Today at a Glance:

  • A complete end to end breakdown of how the X algorithm works

  • Tips and tricks for getting more visibility on X

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The Most In Depth Breakdown of the X Algorithm You'll Ever Read

A year ago Elon Musk made one of the biggest decisions in the history of social media. He open sourced the X algorithm code.

This changed the game forever. NEVER before has this type of access been granted to the inner workings of a social media platform.

If code is going to decide who gets to say what, and what they say, I think it's critical we get to see how that code works. And that's what Elon did.

In this article I'm going to dive deep into the algo code. I'm going to show you all the important snippets and the actions you need to take based on them.

I've been a coder for 15 years and have a Computer Science degree, so this is something I've been preparing for. Let's get into it:

IMPORTANT NOTE: The following is based on the available code. I will try to make it as clear as possible what is based on code and what is anecdotal. I don't agree with all the ways the code works, I'm simply just sharing my interpretation of it.

What Dings You

Following too many people

Code that adjusts reputation based on follower ratio.

In the current algorithm code, everyone has a reputation. This reputation score is impacted by many things. One of those things is your follower/following ratio.

If you follow significantly more people than are following you, your reputation gets lowered. Lowered reputation, lowered reach in the algorithm.

Important note though: through evidence heard from others, unfollowing people too quickly can ding you as well. Your action item here shouldn't be to unfollow a ton of people as quickly as you can.

Just make sure you only follow people you are actually interested in reading. My assumption is this code was implemented to stop auto-follower bots.

Interacting with low reputation accounts

The comments in the code that defines what Tweepcred is.

Your reputation score in the algorithm is called "Tweepcred". This is an awful name for something that shouldn't exist anymore. Tweepcred uses the PageRank algorithm, similar to algorithms used with search engines.

In search engines, the higher the reputation of websites that link to your website, the higher your website will rank.

It's similar with Tweepcred. The higher the reputation of accounts that engage with you, the higher your reputation is.

For example, getting engagement from Elon instantly boosts your reputation. Ever notice accounts he engages with regularly appear on your feed?

It also works in reverse too. Engage with low reputation accounts, and your reputation lowers. If you were to reply to an account that appears under the "Show additional replies" button, your reputation would lower and your following posts would get less reach.

What the 'show additional replies' button looks like

I've heard from a large amount of people that they replied to people under that button and immediately lost a large percentage of their reach. When they deleted those replies, they immediately got their reach back.

Talking about blacklisted topics

Code that checks to see if you mention blacklisted topics

X has a list of blacklisted topics. These are topics that when mentioned, would immediately lower your Tweepcred (trust me, I cringe every time I type it.) At the moment this list of topics is stored on the back end and is not open sourced.

There is no possible way of knowing exactly which topics reduce your reach. This is a "use your own best judgement" situation.

Code that flags you for using outside links

X wants you on platform for as long as possible. And it makes sense, the longer you're on X, the more ad revenue the company receives. Using outside links in your posts directs people off the site, meaning less ad views for them.

In a really obvious and self explanatory move, using links in your posts will reduce your reach.

Ever notice posts with links always have a fraction of the reach of other posts? If you absolutely have to include links with your content, I would recommend writing a follow up post to your original post as a reply, and including the link there.

Being a jerk

Code that deboosts you for being 'offensive'

"Freedom of speech" does not mean freedom of reach. There is a deboost for being toxic on X.

I would assume they have some sort of machine learning implemented that is able to detect the tone and subject matter of your post based on your languaging.

If the machine learning determines you're being too toxic, you'll get the deboost and lose your reach.

Helpful tip: don't be an A hole.


Here is a list of all the flags that can be automatically applied to your account.

I'd go through the list above and make sure you're aware of what can and can't hurt you in your posts.

A lot of flags around NSFW and violent content. Here's my mindset: if I'm not sure if a piece of content is NSFW or not, I just don't post it. I'd prefer not to take risks.

What Boosts You:

Thoughtful replies that get author engagement

BTW my former X handle was 'NFT_GOD'

I've long said the reply guy strategy is the best strategy for growth on X.

I stand by this for many different reasons. One of those reasons is the code backs me up. One way to get more visibility is to get replies from the original author when you reply.

A lot of people who reply on X are unbelievably lazy. They'll reply with a couple of emojis or one word.

This does absolutely nothing for you. What you need to aim for is responses from the original author. The only way to do this is with thoughtful replies.

  • Say why you agree with the author

  • Why you disagree

  • A personal story that related to the post

Either way, just be thoughtful. It will only help you in the long run. Last thing you want to do is spam or be lazy.

Post more videos

You've probably noticed a lot more videos on your feed lately. This is for good reason, they're getting pushed HEAVILY by the algorithm.

Elon clearly wants X to replace some other big video sites out there. One way to do this is get more eyes on video content.

It's pushed in the algo code several ways. One with the flag above, but another just because people spend longer periods of time on video content.

It takes a longer time to watch a video than it does to read a post. More time spent on content, the more the content gets pushed. That's why videos are getting pushed so heavy.

The very first video I recorded went MEGA viral. It's by far the most popular post I've ever put out. It garnered 16 million impressions.

If you haven't experimented with video yet, this is your sign.

Elon wants X to be the destination for citizen journalists. One way he does this is by giving boosts to trending topics and posts with news in them.

Staying on trend is an excellent way to help your content get seen by more people.

Take a look at the explore page. See what topics and stories are trending. Think of a take or opinion you can provide. Share it out.

You have a way higher chance of getting seen by more people.


The algorithm basically comes down to this: create content people want to consume beginning to end and don't be a jerk. You do this by creating compelling content and being kind to others.

There really aren't any algo hacks. There's no ways to cheat. There are little things you can do to be seen by more people like include video, but more important than any of that is you need to create good content.

Focus on creating the highest quality content possible, the rest will fall into place.

Changes we need to see:

Everything I wrote before this was based on the available code. Now I want to include a few opinions on what we need changed ASAP.

First, we need the removal of Tweepcred. It's an outdated, over engineered system built by the last team. It predates Elon.

Going through the spaghetti code, you quickly realize it's a mess of a system that has too many landmines, rules, flags, and ways to hurt your reach.

The whole system needs to be dramatically simplified.

I also strongly believe posts need longer time-to-live. Great content takes a long time to create, especially high quality videos. If content is only seen for 24 hours, it will make it less likely people will spend a tremendous amount of time creating long form content for the platform.

Long form written and video content should be staying on feeds for AT LEAST a week. On other platforms you can see high quality video content get recommended YEARS after it's posted. We don't need to go that far here, but we need much longer than 24 hours.

The biggest change I'd like to see though is TRANSPARENCY. Even if you don't change the rules or get rid of Tweepcred, giving users transparency into what is dinging their accounts would be incredibly helpful.


Mockup of a profile screen that shows your reputation.

A lot of users are currently getting upset because they feel they're getting docked and have no idea why. Transparency in the UI around flags fixes all of this.

A few things to note: the code base hasn't been updated in 7 months now. All the information provided in this article is based on the last available code in the GitHub repo. An update to this repo is desperately needed. I'm hoping we see an update soon.

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Have a great weekend everyone!


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