Just 24 hours ago Twitter broke… again. Since Elon Musk took the reins of the social network, to deny that it’s performing fair-to-fairly poorly would be lying, as many of the changes are not being implemented in the right way, not to mention that it has lost so many employees that the company is now holding on with fewer hands. And that always shows.
Thanks to The Verge, we have learned new details about the crash suffered by Twitter a few hours ago. During this, users could not even enter the social network; and when they finally could, images, videos or links were broken, that is, they could not be displayed or opened. Twitter was down, plain and simple. And it was all down to one person.
To explain the situation, the first thing is context. Just a month ago, the tycoon made one of those very controversial moves on Twitter, which was none other than turning off the tap of the Twitter API to stop it being free. The Twitter (and other apps) API is a package of functions that programmers can integrate into their applications in order to interact with Twitter. In other words, other apps can take advantage of the social network’s functionalities and vice versa.
If we explain all this, it is because of what follows. A trusted engineer was working on this API access restriction when he touched something he shouldn’t have. The incorrect configuration change ended up breaking the Twitter API… with all that entails. While you might think that these processes are individual, the reality is that they are not. Any change can have “massive ramifications,” as Musk himself explained (and this is true). However, the key here lies in the fact that a single engineer was in charge of everything due to staff cutbacks. Wordless.
As some of the social network’s employees commented anonymously, Twitter has had problems since its first version, so modifying anything related to the API or derivatives can have very serious consequences. “There is so much technological debt from Twitter 1.0 that if you make a change right now, the whole social network breaks”, he points out.
According to this information provided by employees, not only was Twitter broken at the user level, but also part of the internal infrastructure. Dozens of workers reported that they were unable to access the social network’s work tools, not to mention that “Elon Musk was furious”. However, no one was taken by surprise, as the malfunctioning of the social network since Musk has been a constant: “These types of outages have become so frequent that I think we are all desensitized,” says one worker.
Right now, there are barely 550 employees working full-time at Twitter (both internal and external). We should not forget, after all, that Elon Musk laid off literally thousands of workers during his first few weeks. Moreover, the remaining engineers themselves have commented that this will happen again in the future, as maintenance work has degraded, which will cause more problems to come.
We’ll be watching to see what the next big Twitter crash will be. At this rate, one day we might be able to log in and it will be impossible to access. As it was said when Musk’s big acquisition came along, who knows if we are entering Twitter and that could be the last time. 44 billion dollars were spent. Let’s not forget.