Everybody hates the Twitter algorithm. The algorithm (“algo”) is what determines which tweets you see, where, and when. This article will give you some tips for using the mute function to defeat various aspects of the algorithm. In other words, this is a way to beat the Twitter algorithm. Before getting into details, here’s an example.
I have half a dozen Twitter accounts corresponding to various blogs and interests. Some of them share some accounts I’m following. Yet it’s common for tweets from those accounts to show up in one of my feeds and not in the other. This is the algorithm in action.
FYI there is a downloadable, printable version of this article as a pdf at the bottom of this page.
Full disclosure: I use Tweetbot for iOS and OS X. Twitter restricts the functionality of Tweetbot in some important ways. For example, there is no way to thread a series of tweets. That’s why I also have the Twitter client app on my iOS devices. And you’ll need access to your Twitter account via a Twitter app or the web to use these suggestions.
Kudos to Vice writer Samantha Cole for writing about this. Much of what follows is based on her article.
Open the Twitter mobile app or navigate to the website. Click the More button.
This opens a pulldown menu. Click Settings and privacy.
Click Muted words.
You may get a warning from Twitter. Ignore it. (Remember, you can remove these mute filters any time you want.)
Click the +.
Hoo, boy. You’re faced with choices. The only change you might consider is checking “From anyone” instead of the default “From people you don’t follow.” (The latter is very useful if you follow people who regularly retweet a few hundred tweets a day.)
That’s the easy part. There’s that text box near the top of this screen. “Enter word or phrase.”
Here’s the list from the Vice article. If you want more choices, there’s a link in the article to a website with the complete keyword list.
suggest_activity_tweet: Stops the platform from feeding you tweets you might like
suggest_recycled_tweet_inline: Stops repeated tweets from appearing over and over
suggest_pyle_tweet: Stops serving tweets because mutuals engaged with them
suggest_grouped_tweet_hashtag: Stops tweets associated with popular hashtags from appearing randomly in your timeline
generic-activity-momentsbreaking: Keep tweets served simply because they’re part of a Moment out of your feed
Rather than typing those strings, just copy and paste each into the text box highlighted above.
Take a deep breath and click Save. You should see this:
Just repeat this procedure for each phrase you want to filter.
Tips and Tricks
- If you don’t like the results you get from these filters, experiment with removing them. I recommend one at a time. Naturally you’ll want to take notes about the results you see (not to mention keeping track of which you have removed).
- If you’re using a third-party app, the interactions between the filter and your app may not be what you’re expecting. In that case, see tip #1 above.
- Remember, the Vice article includes a link to a site that lists many more keyphrases. It’s the middle of winter (at least in the northern hemisphere). Use the long, cold days and nights to experiment with these various items. Feel free to comment here when you find something interesting.
I hope this has been useful. When you find mistakes, please let me know either via e-mail or the comments.
- Possible exceptions to this rule include Twitter stockholders and employees. Also the vast majority of inmates at mental institutions. ↑
- Cole, Samantha (January 3, 2020). “How to Take Your Twitter Feed Back From the Algorithm.” Available at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7kz9ez/go-into-2020-by-taking-your-twitter-feed-back-from-the-algorithms. Accessed January 5, 2020. ↑