Dan Sinker encountered a “Groundhog Day” scenario towards the end of the previous year. The same weeks-old tweet from another user would frequently be recommended to Sinker, who has tens of thousands of followers, when he checked his notifications page on Twitter. In a tweet from the beginning of December, Sinker stated that “we’re back to November 7 in my mentions again.”
In-depth details about Users wonder how long Twitter failures can stay online as it goes from bad to worse
The bug served as a harbinger of a bigger issue for Twitter: In the weeks following billionaire Elon Musk’s late-October acquisition of the business and his hasty start to staff reductions, some components of the social network simply ceased to function. The notifications tab wouldn’t update, tweet replies would appear out of order, and some users’ attempts to use the two-factor authentication feature failed.
Musk keeps laying off employees, so the situation only looks to be growing worse. Twitter experienced its sixth significant outage in 2023, compared to nine tracked throughout the all of 2022, and its third service interruption in less than a month, according to Internet watchdog NetBlocks, on Monday.
On Monday, some users encountered the following error when trying to access Twitter.com: “your current API plan does not cover access to this endpoint.” Other users could access the website, but they were unable to view the images or click on the links. Less than a week prior, users ran into a different, frustrating issue: when attempting to check their feeds, they were greeted with a “Welcome to Twitter!” message as if they were brand-new users.
“It kind of feels like the plane is breaking apart as we are flying in it. Will the aircraft be able to take off and land? Most likely, but the certainty diminishes with each piece that is lost, according to Sinker, a writer who has been using Twitter since 2007. It’s no longer something you can count on to be there, and even if it is, you can’t really count on it to behave in the way you expect.
The service outages and sporadic bugs draw attention to the underlying friction between Twitter and its new owner. In an urgent effort to minimise costs for the company he acquired with a sizable amount of debt, Musk reportedly sped up personnel reductions, lowering the number down from 7,500 to less than 2,000 presently. Musk runs the danger of reducing the viability of Twitter in his attempt to cut corners and become profitable.
The disruptions pose a threat to alienate customers and advertisers, some of whom are already displeased with Musk’s contentious statements and early business decisions. According to senior equities analyst Angelo Zino of CFRA Research, “it becomes more of a cause to potentially steer away from handing ad revenue to Twitter” when combined with other current problems.
But there might not be a simple solution. The service interruptions “track back to the Twitter data centre, indicating engineering issues or inadequate testing,” NetBlocks director Alp Toker told CNN. To be honest with you, they simply don’t have enough engineers, according to Zino.
Zino said, “It appears like they went above and beyond [with layoffs], and, to an extent, they had to because Musk overpaid for an acquisition where the debt that he’s got to pay off is enormous. “The situation is unfortunate.”
Musk has admitted that Twitter continues to struggle to stay online, but he has attributed outages more to the platform’s programming than to the smaller personnel under his direction.
Musk said this week at an event that the code base is “like a Rube Goldberg machine,” and that when you zoom in on one part of the machine, there’s another one, and then there’s another one. “So it’s quite difficult to keep this thing running, and then it’s also difficult to advance the product because it is really overly complex, to say the least,” he continued.
Whatever the cause, Twitter users are faced with a common reality: the site seems to be crashing more frequently than it has in any other period since the “fail whale” phase more than ten years ago, and in a variety of different ways.
Users reported bugs over the weekend, including the random unblocking or unfollowing of individuals, the appearance of old tweets at the top of feeds, problems with video streaming, broken links, and deleted draughts. Users of Twitter had previously experienced a number of other problems with the service, such as the inability to tweet, send direct messages, or follow new accounts.
“I am unable to perceive how others react to me. I must check now. There is no warning. Regular mentions also are ineffective. At all. Not once,” Taffy Brodesser-Akner, a reporter for the New York Times, tweeted last week. It becomes not just unfun but also unusable as a result.
Several users have now noticed a distinct problem with Twitter, even when it’s up and running: their “for you” timelines feel cluttered with items they don’t want to view, such as an excessive amount of Musk’s tweets and replies. The CEO of Twitter said, “Please remain tuned as we make modifications,” in response to certain outlets pointing up the significant increase in Musk tweets in users’ feeds last month.