Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Twitter reportedly took so long to fix a huge outage because Elon Musk decimated the team responsible for it

People couldn’t tweet for 90 minutes before Twitter acknowledged something was wrong, but it took even longer to fix.

Akshar Dave on Unsplash

Twitter users discovered that they could no longer tweet on Wednesday, 8 February and while service was eventually restored a new report suggests that it would have happened sooner if there was anyone left to fix it.

Twitter CEO and owner Elon Musk has been on a cost-cutting tear since he took over the company in late 2022. Having spent $44 billion on the company Musk wanted to save as much as possible, so he fired half of the company’s staff. That decision came back to bite him on Wednesday, with a new report claiming that the engineers that would normally fix a big outage had already left months prior.


Tech newsletter Platformer reports that the issue itself was caused by an employee mistakenly deleting important data from an internal service. “It turns out that an employee had inadvertently deleted data for an internal service that sets rate limits for using Twitter,” the report says. What’s more, the team that would normally have been responsible had left the company as of November 2022.

“As the adage goes, ‘you ship your org chart,’” Platformer quotes one former employee as saying. “It’s chaos here right now, so we’re shipping chaos.”

Another employee painted a similarly distressing picture of the current state of play inside Twitter. “Most of our time is dedicated to three main areas: putting out fires (mostly caused by firing the wrong people and trying to recover from that), performing impossible tasks, and ‘improving efficiency’ without clear guidelines of what the expected end results are.”

That’s all important context when you consider that it took Twitter 90 minutes to acknowledge that there was an outage on Wednesday, with users receiving an error that effectively told them they had tweeted too much.

Following the outage Musk is reported as having emailed all Twitter employees, ordering them to pause all development work to ensure a period of stability.

It isn’t clear when Twitter itself will get a period of stability, however.


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