“A small API change has massive implications,” Twitter CEO Elon Musk said wrote In a tweet on Monday, Twitter referenced a tool used by third-party developers that run programs that draw data and post to its site. “The coding layer is very fragile for no good reason. Eventually a complete rewrite is required.
He returned to that explanation a second time Monday, twice calling The site is “fragile.”
Since taking over Twitter, CEO Elon Musk has laid off about two-thirds of the company’s workforce, engaged in aggressive cost-cutting, and forced workers to move to “more difficult” workplaces or leave the company in part. The massive layoffs led to widespread concerns about Twitter’s ability to maintain core operations, as critical engineering teams were reduced to one or zero employees.
In the months since the acquisition — and subsequent layoffs — Twitter has faced numerous outages, hampering key features: loading tweets and notifications, sending tweets and direct messages, accessing links and photos. Each — by current and former employees or Musk himself — was told the company was making changes to its code.
“Every mistake in code and operations is now dangerous,” one former engineer told The Washington Post in November, explaining that those who remain “are going to be doing much, much more work and therefore, more likely to make mistakes.” The former engineer spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
Before Musk was acquired, the company had a risk assessment team that checked product changes for anticipated problems. Twitter’s risk assessment process helped flag potential problems before they arose. But The Washington Post reported that the team was fired after Musk took over, leading to product releases riddled with errors.
Musk and Twitter did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Since taking over Twitter, Musk has followed the company’s plan to cut 75 percent of its workforce, aggressively cut costs and pursued new revenue streams, such as charging $8 a month for the company’s signature blue check icons. But his tenure has been marked by embarrassing mishaps, such as the failure of the check mark feature, which resulted in a swarm of impersonators and on several occasions prompted Twitter to temporarily suspend the subscription service.
Musk vowed to restore “free speech” on the Twitter platform, firing the company’s previous managers, whom he blamed for a content moderation approach rooted in protecting against the harms of hate speech and misinformation. Musk has promised transparency on decisions by the old regime, such as an attempt to limit the spread of a New York Post story on the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop. was overcome Leaks of company information under his own leadership.
Even before Musk’s takeover, Twitter employees warned of the risks to the site in the event of an outage. Twitter whistleblower Peter Zatko warned of a potential outage at Twitter’s off-site data centers, for example, in a complaint received by congressional committees.
That kind of outage could make it impossible to recover sensitive data — and could leave Twitter down for months. Despite concerns about Twitter’s vulnerable infrastructure, Musk ordered the shutdown of Twitter’s largest data center in Sacramento in December, The Washington Post reported at the time.
On Monday, Twitter users were greeted with glitches immediately after opening the site.
When users clicked on the link on Twitter, they were met with a message that read: “Your current API program does not have access to this endpoint,” and sent them to a page designed for developers.
“User reports indicate problems with Twitter,” it said on Down Detector, a website that monitors online outages.
“We’ve made an internal change that had some unintended consequences,” Twitter’s support account said said In a tweet.
By early morning, some activity appeared to have been restored.
“Things should now work as normal,” Twitter’s support account said in a tweet. “Thanks for joining us!”
The pattern on Monday mirrored an outage from early February, which arose as Twitter made similar changes to its API, a data feed designed for developers.
Twitter experienced a widespread outage on February 8, leaving users unable to send tweets and direct messages, follow other accounts and upload content to their timelines.
“Starting February 9, we will no longer support free access to the Twitter API, v2 and v1.1. Get a paid base tier instead,” Twitter wrote That month.
Musk said Twitter is trying to crack down on Twitter’s freely accessible data.Abuse“The scams are run by bots, but the company later said it was offering a free version, drawing criticism for its aggressive efforts to monetize previously free features of the site.
Those issues followed the widespread global outage Twitter faced in December.
In group chats between current and former engineers at the time, some speculated that the December crash came after a software update went wrong.
It wasn’t until Monday that Musk suggested a complete rewrite of Twitter’s code. He has held that position for several months since taking over the position last year. In a December Twitter space, he said the site’s live audio feature required a overhaul of the company’s code base.
Pressed by a participant to explain what that meant, Musk became irritated.
After hesitations and pauses, “Surprise, wow,” he said. “You are a jackass. … What a fool.”