Twitter is secretly boosting 35 users including LeBron James and Marc Andreessen, according to a new report

Elon Musk's twitter account on a smartphone screen
Elon Musk's Twitter reportedly gives extra visibility to certain VIP accounts.
Matt Cardy—Getty Images

Twitter owner Elon Musk has evangelized treating all the service’s users equally. But some users are more important than others. 

Twitter has reportedly given greater visibility to the accounts of 35 celebrities including basketball star LeBron James, investor Marc Andreessen, lawmaker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the “chief twit,” Musk himself, tech newsletter Platformer reported Monday.

The preferential treatment, which has gone on for months, according to Platformer, was initially created to see if changes to recommendation algorithms would affect how users interact with the accounts of influential people. Some not-so-famous people are also on the VIP list, such as Derek Guy, who, using the handle @dieworkwear, became mysteriously ubiquitous in the suggestions section of Twitter users. 

Platformer did not publish the entire list of Twitter users who get extra visibility, but it said broadly that they include politicians and journalists. The list also includes stand-up comedian Jaboukie Young-White and YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson.  

It is unclear whether the “VIP accounts” will continue getting more visibility than others. 

Twitter did not immediately return Fortune’s request for comment.

Musk’s Experiments

Musk has wanted to roll out Twitter Blue, the paid subscription feature, since shortly after buying Twitter for $44 billion. It would eliminate the previous system of blue check marks, handed out for free to people the company considered high-profile, which Musk complains creates a “lords and peasants system.”  

An earlier test of Twitter Blue quickly led to impersonation and fraud, so within a few days, Musk decided against rolling it out, saying he wanted “to make sure it was rock solid” before moving ahead. In his second try rolling out the paid verification program next month, Musk says, only verified accounts will appear on people’s For You recommendations page, adding that it is the only way to stop bots from flooding Twitter. 

He wrote in a tweet Monday: “Starting April 15th, only verified accounts will be eligible to be in For You recommendations.”

He continued: “The is the only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over. It is otherwise a hopeless losing battle. Voting in polls will require verification for same reason.”

Last month, Musk, the world’s richest man, reportedly told Twitter engineers to boost his tweets after he noticed that some about the Super Bowl got fewer views than President Joe Biden’s tweets about the same topic. The engineers then changed the algorithm to allow Musk’s tweets to show on top of users’ feeds, bypassing algorithms that were designed to show users the most relevant posts for them. In another instance, he reportedly fired an engineer who tried to explain why his posts attracted fewer viewers than the number of followers he had. 

Despite his urge to increase views of his tweets, Musk is not the only one with qualms about Twitter’s engagement. Conservative Twitter users have complained for years about their tweets not receiving as much traction or being censored. Earlier this year, some right-wing activists complained that their tweets were not receiving as much engagement and alleged that tweets on private accounts were receiving more mileage. To test the hypothesis, Musk locked his own Twitter account in February, but soon went back to having a public account and didn’t immediately implement any new changes.

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