★ Two Weeks Later and Twitter Is Still Up
In the immediate aftermath of Twitter’s mass layoffs and subsequent resignations, there were widespread reports that the staffing situation and collective brain drain were so dire that the site would collapse. Two weeks later — with World Cup soccer drama fueling record usage — such concerns seem to have been overblown.
Davey Alba, Jack Gillum, and Margi Murphy, reporting for Bloomberg:
Twitter Inc.’s mass exodus of employees leaves the platform
vulnerable to a broad range of malfunctions. The social network
will succumb to a major glitch at some point, technologists
predict. It’s just a matter of when. […]
Multiple teams that were critical for keeping the service up and
running are completely gone, or borrowing engineers from other
groups, according to people familiar with the matter. That
includes infrastructure teams to keep the main feed operational
and maintain tweet databases. #RIPTwitter trended on the site, as
users and departed employees predicted an imminent shutdown and
said their goodbyes.
Joseph Menn and Cat Zakrzewski at The Washington Post, “Twitter Death Watch Captivates Millions”:
Several critical teams essential to keeping the site functioning
were cut to a single engineer or none by the departures Thursday,
leaving the company partially on autopilot and likely to crash
sooner or later, engineers said.
“I know of six critical systems (like ‘serving tweets’ levels of
critical) which no longer have any engineers,” a former employee
said. “There is no longer even a skeleton crew manning the system.
It will continue to coast until it runs into something, and then
it will stop.”
Alex Heath and Mia Sato, reporting for The Verge:
Remaining and departing Twitter employees told The Verge that,
given the scale of the resignations this week, they expect the
platform to start breaking soon. One said that they’ve watched
“legendary engineers” and others they look up to leave one by
Multiple “critical” teams inside Twitter have now either
completely or near-completely resigned, said other employees who
requested anonymity to speak without Musk’s permission. That
includes Twitter’s traffic and front end teams that route
engineering requests to the correct backend services. The team
that maintains Twitter’s core system libraries that every engineer
at the company uses is also gone. “You cannot run Twitter without
this team,” a departing employee said.
Two weeks later and it seems they can run Twitter without that team. Or, perhaps, it’s just been luck and collapse is imminent.
Chris Stokel-Walker for The Guardian, “Twitter Has ‘50% Chance’ of Major Crash During World Cup, Says Insider”:
Twitter stands a 50% chance of a major outage that could take the
site offline during the World Cup, according to a recently
departed employee with knowledge of how the company responds to
The former employee, who was granted anonymity because of the
sensitivity of what was discussed, has knowledge of the workings
of Twitter Command Centre, the platform’s team of troubleshooters
who monitor the site for issues such as traffic spikes and data
centre outages. “Between the lack of preparations and the lack of
staffing, I think it’s going to be a rough World Cup for Twitter,”
said the former employee.
He suggested that an incident of some kind — such as a service
responding slowly or incorrectly — is almost a certainty during
the 29-day competition in Qatar, estimating a 90% possibility of
something going wrong that users would see. The likelihood of
Twitter staying online during the competition, which kicks off on
Sunday, is no better than even, according to the former employee.
The World Cup is only half over. Let’s check back in another two weeks.
But while fears of technical collapse seem to have been overblown, Twitter’s advertising collapse is seemingly continuing unabated.