On Wednesday night, a number of basic Twitter features stopped working for many users, including tweeting, retweeting, following, and direct messages.
When attempting any of these actions, users received an error message informing them that they had reached their daily limit. The platform remained online, but de facto in read-only mode. Some famous users have been affected, like Steve Martin, who tweeted his own error message, and Motherboard’s own account was blocked from tweeting and retweeting. The outage lasted for hours but appeared to be resolved by Thursday morning.
Such a failure was widely predicted by IT professionals on Twitter after Musk took over the site by burdening it with huge debt and gutting its staff to cut costs, taking it down from approximately 7,000 employees to just over 1,000. There are only about 500 engineers left in the workforce.
The company under Musk’s leadership has also chaotically experimented with new features to generate revenue, including changes to platform core elements such as its API. Cracks were already appearing before the breakdown; a bug this week let users post tweets with thousands of charactersFor example.
Fortune reported that Musk emailed Twitter staff during the outage that involved experimenting with new features and server migration. “Please pause new feature development for now in favor of maximizing system stability and robustness, especially with the upcoming Super Bowl,” Musk wrote in an email.
In a follow-up, Musk wrote that Twitter “should also pause on the transition away from Sacramento, solidify Atlanta and reduce [Google Cloud Platform] use until at least next week. Twitter has data centers in Sacramento and Atlanta.
Musk’s erratic actions, like ban open source flight trackers after saying he wouldn’t – and the desperate search for new revenue streams has caused chaos on Twitter not often seen on a major tech platform. Eventually, it seems like everything shattered under the pressure.