Twitter experienced multiple crashes during a highly anticipated live audio chat between Elon Musk, the owner of the platform, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The technical disruptions hindered DeSantis’ announcement of his Republican presidential nomination bid. Since Musk took over Twitter in October, he has initiated extensive layoffs, including the dismissal of many engineers responsible for addressing software bugs.
Current and former Twitter employees had previously expressed concerns, stating that the significant reduction in the workforce would make the platform vulnerable to crashes during periods of high traffic. As the event commenced on Wednesday, David Sacks, a venture capitalist and close friend of Musk, acknowledged the strain on the servers, saying, “We’ve got so many people here that I think we are kind of melting the servers, which is a good sign.”
The number of listeners, along with Musk’s extensive Twitter following, was attributed as the cause of the issues. Despite the repeated crashes, approximately 678,000 people tuned in to listen to the chat session. Eventually, the Spaces session resumed, reaching around 304,000 listeners.
Last month, when Musk was interviewed by the BBC on Twitter Spaces, approximately 3 million people listened in. However, frequent outages have become more common since Musk took ownership of Twitter. In March, numerous users reported difficulties accessing links posted on the platform. According to NetBlocks, an internet observatory, this incident marked the sixth major outage for Twitter since the beginning of the year, compared to three during the same period the previous year.
As the crashes occurred on Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden took the opportunity to mock DeSantis’ presidential bid by tweeting a fundraising appeal with the comment, “This link works.” The disruptive incidents during the chat session led to “Failure to Launch,” “Crashed,” and #DeSaster trending on Twitter in the United States.
The repeated technical issues faced by Twitter under Musk’s ownership raise concerns about the platform’s stability and reliability, especially during critical events and periods of high user activity. The layoffs of experienced engineers responsible for bug fixes have seemingly contributed to the platform’s vulnerability to crashes, highlighting the need for effective infrastructure and support to ensure uninterrupted service for users.