- A sudden and catastrophic outage of Twitter is unlikely, insiders say.
- Yet they expect a stream of problems to build up to the point where it can no longer function.
- With so few employees to share critical work, “Twitter is done,” said one former employee.
Twitter’s technical strength is being tested under the leadership of Elon Musk, leaving insiders and experts to agree that a site outage is possible, if not likely, in the near future.
Sites like Twitter don’t just go dark in the face of problems that can’t be fixed quickly — or at all. Yet with more users than ever before and dramatically fewer employees thanks to a combination of massive layoffs and massive resignations in just three weeks of Musk ownership, serious technical issues seem inevitable.
Entire teams within Twitter effectively shut down Musk, firing around 3,500 people earlier this month and around 2,000 who quit on Thursday in response to the billionaire’s ultimatum demanding “extremely hardcore” work.
Still, a sudden, catastrophic outage for Twitter is “unlikely,” said a former Twitter executive familiar with its technical systems. Even if Twitter lost all of its employees, the site would continue to exist online, at least for a while, as it operates largely through remote commands that have been set up to continue independently.
“The most likely scenario is that there is a major functionality break for some users,” the former executive said. Features such as posting or re-tweeting could crash or stop working upon encountering an unexpected issue, the executive noted.
“It would be discovered late, and it would be difficult to know what caused the problem and how to fix it when none of the people who could fix it are employed,” the executive said.
Another likely scenario is that Twitter won’t see a single major failure, but small glitches or glitches will pile up, the former executive said. Maybe notifications stop working or tweets appear in the thread hours late. Even small issues will take too long to resolve, given how few people Twitter currently has.
“It wouldn’t normally be difficult to reverse these things,” the former executive said. “But now it will take days or weeks to figure it out.”
Critical data and server maintenance, which are essential to prevent such problems, is about to lapse as there are not enough people available to handle the workload, a knowledgeable ex-employee says. Twitter systems.
“We already had a lot to do before he arrived,” the person said, referring to Musk. “Now there’s definitely no way to deal with all of this. Twitter is over.”
This person predicted that soon, “every other day something critical will break” on Twitter, piling up until the problems could no longer be fixed. Users will then leave a site that is indeed broken.
Tech and engineering experts have been posting seemingly minor things to Twitter that are likely to go wrong in the coming weeks. Only one employee apply a “wrong code” to a network can be detrimental if no one is available to fix it quickly. A security threat could emerge, without anyone discovering it in time or knowing how to fix it.
A current Twitter engineer said Thursday that he and other remaining colleagues realized they now had to “maintain Twitter and learn everything.”
That may not even be possible, said a former worker, given the loss of knowledge about Twitter’s operations and codebase.
“You can’t fire all of us and expect people to come in next Monday and magically fix everything,” the worker said.
Musk spent part of Thursday calling engineers who refused to sign up for Twitter 2.0 to try to get them to stay, as Insider reported. In addition to losing engineers, finance and accounting were squeezed out, as Insider reported, along with Twitter’s information security organization, which handles company and user data. said two people close to the company.
In a sudden attempt to “get a better understanding” of Twitter’s technology, Musk sent out early morning emails on Friday asking that “anyone” remaining on Twitter with software coding experience meet him in person.
“He thinks he can figure out the Twitter stack on his own in a day,” said a former employee. “I hope someone will tell him how ridiculous it is.”
Are you a Twitter employee or someone else with ideas to share? Contact Kali Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org, on the secure messaging app Signal at 949-280-0267, or via Twitter DM at @hayskali. Reach out using a non-professional device.
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