Twitter could slowly collapse under Elon Musk as technical glitches accumulate. Insiders explain how this will happen.

  • Insiders say the sudden and catastrophic failure of Twitter is unlikely.
  • However, they expect a series of problems to accumulate to the point where he can no longer work.
  • With so few employees to share important business, a former employee said, “Twitter is over.”

Twitter’s technical mettle is being put to the test under Elon Musk’s leadership, leaving insiders and experts to agree that the site’s collapse is possible, and even likely, in the near future.

Sites like Twitter aren’t simply blindsided by problems that can’t be fixed quickly — or at all. However, with more users than ever before and significantly shorter staff thanks to a combination of mass layoffs and resignations in just three weeks of Musk’s ownership, it seems like serious technical issues are bound to occur.

Entire teams within Twitter effectively shut down with Musk laying off about 3,500 people earlier this month and an estimated 2,000 people quit Thursday in response to the billionaire’s ultimatum demanding “very hard” work.

Still, a sudden catastrophic failure of Twitter is “unlikely,” said a former Twitter executive familiar with its technical systems. Even if Twitter loses all employees, the site will still be online, at least for a while, because it operates largely through remote commands that have been created. Prepare to proceed independently.

“The most likely scenario is that there is a major feature glitch for users from some users,” said the former CEO. The CEO noted that features such as posting or retweeting can malfunction or stop working by encountering some unexpected issues.

“It will be caught late, and it will be unclear what the problem is and not clear how to fix it when you don’t have any of the people who can fix it working,” the executive said.

Another possible scenario, the former executive said, is that Twitter won’t experience one major failure, but small issues or glitches that will accumulate. Notifications may stop working or tweets appear too late. Even small issues will take a long time to fix, given how few people Twitter has now.

“It usually wouldn’t be difficult to reverse these things,” the former executive said. “But now it will take days or weeks to really figure that out.”

A former employee familiar with Twitter’s systems said critical maintenance of data and servers, which are key to preventing such issues, is set to come to an end because there aren’t enough people on hand to handle the workload.

“We already had a lot before he came in,” the person said, referring to Musk. “Now there’s definitely no way to deal with all of that. Twitter’s done.”

This person predicted that soon, “something critical goes off every couple of days” on Twitter, and it piles up until the problems can’t be resolved anymore. Users will then effectively leave a broken site.

Technology and engineering experts have posted on Twitter about seemingly minor things that are likely to go wrong in the coming weeks. Only one employee bad code app A network can be damaged if no one is available to fix it quickly. A security threat can appear, without anyone spotting it in time or knowing how to fix it.

One of Twitter’s current engineers said Thursday that he and his other remaining colleagues realized they now had to “maintain Twitter and learn everything.”

A former worker said this may not be possible, given the loss of knowledge of Twitter’s operations and codebase.

That worker said, “You can’t fire us all and expect people to come in next Monday and magically fix everything.”

Musk spent part of Thursday calling engineers who had opted out of Twitter 2.0 to try to convince them to stay, Insider reported. Along with the loss of engineers, funding and accounting have been dumped, Insider reported, along with Twitter’s information security organization, which handles company and user data, two people familiar with the company said.

In a surprising bid to “better understand” Twitter’s technology, Musk on Friday sent out early morning emails asking “anyone” left on Twitter with software programming experience to meet with him in person.

“He thinks he can comprehend the Twitter stack on his own in one day,” said a former employee. “I hope someone can tell him how funny that is.”

Are you a Twitter employee or someone else with the insight to share? Contact Kali Hays at khays@insider.com, on the secure messaging app Signal at 949-280-0267, or via Twitter DM at @hayskali. Communicate using a non-work device.


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