Art History News Twitter – After Elon Musk bought Twitter last year and laid off thousands of employees, many users were so alarmed by the cuts that #RIPTwitter and #GoodbyeTwitter are trending.
The social media service is still running today. But stoppages, errors and other errors accumulate more and more often.
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Twitter has seen at least four widespread outages in February alone, compared to a total of nine in 2022, according to NetBlocks, an organization that tracks internet outages. This suggests that the frequency of service outages is increasing, NetBlocks said. Bugs that made Twitter less usable — like preventing people from posting tweets — were more visible, researchers and users said.
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Twitter’s reliability has deteriorated as Mr. Musk has repeatedly cut the company’s workforce. After further layoffs on Saturday, Twitter has fewer than 2,000 employees, down from 7,500 in October when Mr Musk took over. The latest cuts affected dozens of engineers tasked with keeping the site online, three current and former employees said.
Technological challenges add to Mr. Musk’s problems on Twitter. The company has tried to bring advertisers back even as Mr Musk has embroiled himself in scandals, most recently defending ‘Dilbert’ creator Scott Adams after the cartoonist made racist comments. And Twitter is under investigation for an increase in hate speech and employee abuse.
Twitter is unlikely to go bankrupt, but its technology operations have become more uncertain since November, said seven of its current and former employees. Mr. Musk closed one of Twitter’s three main data centers, further reduced teams working on the company’s back-end technologies such as servers and cloud storage, and got rid of executives who oversee this area.
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The moves have heightened fears that there aren’t enough people or institutional know-how to fix Twitter’s problems, especially if the service ever runs into a problem that its remaining employees can’t fix. said two people familiar with the inner workings of the company.
In the past, Twitter has prevented breaches from escalating by asking people to diagnose and fix issues immediately. Now people say the platform is likely to be plagued with more bugs as workers take longer to identify issues.
“Before, you used to see little things fail, but now Twitter is completely down in some parts of the world,” said Saagar Jha, a Twitter engineer who quit in May. “When the big stuff breaks, the people who knew the systems are gone.”
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In an email to employees on Monday, seen by The New York Times, Mr Musk said the weekend layoffs were “a difficult organizational restructuring aimed at improving future execution”. He said those still working at the company will receive “very significant stock and other compensation awards” on March 24.
In the late 2000s and early 2010s, Twitter was known for its regular outages and the “Fail Whale”, an image of a whale being airlifted by a flock of birds that appeared when the site was down. . Over the years, the company has added hundreds of people to its infrastructure teams and improved its server technology to reduce downtime, three current and former engineers said.
After Mr. Musk took control of the company, layoffs began, followed by larger changes in the underlying technology. On December 24, Twitter shut down a data center in Sacramento that helped handle much of the service’s web traffic. That left Twitter with just two other facilities, in Atlanta and Portland, Ore.
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Four days later, Twitter experienced a widespread outage, with some users logging out of the service or unable to see replies to their tweets.
Errors made by employees led to further breakdowns. In early February, a Twitter employee deleted data from an internal service designed to prevent spam, leading to a bug that prevented many people from tweeting or messaging each other, according to three people familiar with the case.
It took Twitter engineers several hours to diagnose the problem and restore the data stored in the backup. Meanwhile, users were getting error messages saying they couldn’t tweet because they had already posted too much. The Platformer newsletter previously reported the cause of the issue.
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A week later, an engineer testing users’ Twitter profile changes on Apple mobile devices caused another temporary outage. The engineer ditched the past practice of testing new features on small groups of users and simply rolled out the change — an tweak to Spaces, Twitter’s live audio service — to a wide range of users, said two people familiar with moving.
“Well, I accidentally took down Twitter,” tweeted Leah Culver, the engineer. The app eventually came back online after the change was rolled back, he said. Ms Culver did not respond to a request for comment.
As Mr. Musk tweaked Twitter with new features, “rougher edges” appeared on the site, said Jane Manchun Wong, a freelance software engineer who studies social apps.
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This month, Ms Wong tweeted that the number of likes on one of her tweets had dropped, which caught Mr Musk’s attention. He replied that there was a “synchronization delay”, meaning a delay in the distribution of Twitter’s data between its storage centers.
Some users have also complained that their Twitter follower numbers have mysteriously dropped. Others observed that tweets from users they had blocked, including Mr. Musk, appeared in their newsfeeds without explanation.
The continued loss of workers has only added to the feeling of instability, two current and former employees said. Some junior employees oversee products or services they have never touched before and there is no clear leadership. The company has been without a permanent head of global infrastructure since last year, when Mr Musk fired Nelson Abramson, who held the post. Mr. Musk has appointed a temporary replacement, a Tesla engineer named Sheen Austin, who resigned in January.
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Solving technical problems has also become more difficult due to changes in internal systems and communication. Employees last week lost access to workplace chat platform Slack, preventing them from using their primary means of communication with co-workers or seeing how workers previously fixed Twitter issues, a report said. said three current and former employees.
On Monday, the company brought back Slack. But it archived thousands of old Slack channels that employees communicated with, according to an internal email seen by The Times.
According to some employees, Mr. Musk recently stoked even more unease and distrust with an informal peer review. Some officials were called in this month by Steve Davis, Mr. Musk’s trusted lieutenant who ran his tunnel-building business, the Boring Company, according to two people familiar with the matter.
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Mr. Davis, who has overseen Twitter’s finances and reorganization for the past five months, told those executives that they were high performers and that they should compile a list of other high performers and hand them over. The direction.
Managers were informed that changes were expected in the way compensation was managed and that feedback would be used to implement the changes. Platformer previously reported on these exchanges.
Less than a week later, Twitter sent an email form to employees asking them to detail their February results and what they plan to accomplish in March, according to an email obtained by The Times.
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Two days later, more than 200 employees, including product managers and engineers tasked with rapidly scaling the platform, had their email accounts frozen and lost access to Twitter’s internal systems. Mr. Musk made more cuts.