Twitter has succumbed this Wednesday to one of the biggest falls in its history, after months of spending cuts and tortuous changes promoted by the owner and CEO of the social network, Elon Musk.
Tweeting, retweeting, quoting tweets, sending direct messages or following new users, basic actions within the platform, were impossible for many users to perform for several hours. The Twitter web and app were still working, so users could scroll through previously posted content, but they couldn’t interact with that content.
A former Twitter employee described what was happening as “a massive blackout“, in a private conversation to which he has had access Business Insider. In another message, a worker at a major technology company complained that his company’s corporate accounts weren’t working either, saying this was “a huge problem” for Twitter.
Users began to realize that they could not tweet or retweet, among other things, because of a message that appeared when trying to do so. “You have exceeded the daily limit to send tweetsthe notice noted. People were also unable to access her direct messages, whose tab displayed a notice saying “something went wrong.”
As Musk has been driving change at Twitter, he has been pursuing monetization of various features of the platform that had long been free. The error messages appearing on Wednesday could be proof, or some kind of harbinger, that tweets and direct messages could be the next paid features.
A person familiar with the company’s plans has stated that, within Twitter, it was reported a “race” to find the source of the problem and fix it. During the early hours of Thursday in Spain, tweets and “likes” were working again for many users, while it was still not possible to send direct messages and retweet.
The social network published a tweet from his account support in which he acknowledged: “Twitter may not be working as it should for some of you. We apologize for the inconvenience. We are aware and working to fix it.”
The Twitter crash prompted the Tesla CEO to send an email to his workers instructing them to “pause development of new ” in order to guarantee “the stability of the system”, explained a person who received this message. According to fortune, Musk’s message was sent to employees early on Wednesday (mid-afternoon in Spain).
A company spokesman did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
These types of outages and the failure of certain functions have become more frequent on Twitter, as Musk has carried out mass layoffs and extreme spending cuts. The social network today has fewer employees than it did more than 10 years ago, while the platform’s users have gone from barely 200 million a month to around 250 million every day, according to Apptopia data.
A former director of Twitter had already assured Business Insider that It was to be expected that Twitter would gradually degrade instead of imploding suddenly.
“The most likely scenario was that there would be a major outage, it would be discovered late, and it wouldn’t be clear what caused the problem or how to fix it, because you wouldn’t have any of the people who could fix it in the first place. moment,” said the former executive.
The speed at which Musk wants the changes to take effect is one cause of the problem. Testing to add new features is done so quickly, on such a large scale, and with so little labor, that problems are not detected in time.
According to 2 people related to the company, some of the planned changes could have been the cause of the falls that Twitter has suffered. This Wednesday was the day chosen by the CEO of the social network to put an end to free access to the API for developers, which has allowed the creation of accounts and automated services that have been celebrated by millions of users.
From an account that shows the progression of the year visually with a loading baruntil TweetDeck, an organization tool developed from the Twitter API that the company eventually acquired. TweetDeck stopped working on Wednesday, as did many of the automated accounts that opted out of the payment Musk requires for API access.
This Wednesday was also the day chosen by Twitter to offer the possibility of tweeting up to 4,000 characters in a single message for those users Subscribed to Twitter Blue.