Will Twitter make it through the next week, as World Cup discussion increases server demand?
Right now, Twitter is operating with 36% of the staff it had been before Elon Musk took over at the app – maybe even less given Musk’s latest firings in its sales department. Twitter has reportedly gone from 7,500 staff in September to around 2,700 now, and many former staffers have warned that the app could crash, potentially forever, as a result of increased strain.
But it hasn’t, as Musk continues to tout ‘record high’ usage rates.
So will it actually go down, and what’s the impact that users are seeing thus far as a result of that reduction in headcount?
Here are some of the problems that users are reporting at the app:
Copyright system broke
According to various reports, Twitter’s copy strike system is broken, which has enabled users to upload full-length movies into tweet threads, and have them remain up, without being detected or removed.
As per Mashable:
“One Twitter user went viral this weekend after posting the entirety of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in 2-min long chunks, totaling over 50 tweets. The account has since been suspended, however, the media itself did not go down with it for quite some time. Other users posted the 1995 film Hackers and the 2009 film Avatar, both of which have also been taken down.”
It’s the first major example of a significant flaw in Twitter’s oversight systems, which comes as a result of some aspects at the app not being monitored as closely as they should be.
That could lead to much bigger problems - especially when you also consider that Twitter was already unable to detect and remove child sexual exploitation and non-consensual nudity at scale at its previous staffing levels.
Related to this, Musk has said that addressing child sexual exploitation content in the app is his top priority. So it does seem like Twitter will be moving to address this before it becomes more significant.
Twitter advertisers, meanwhile, are reporting problems with everything from logging into Ads manager, to modifying campaigns, to ad placement and performance.
Some have reported that their ads are being displayed alongside ‘hardcore antisemitism and adult spam’, and have remained up even after being reported to Twitter, while others have said that paused campaigns have been reactivated without notice.
The issues, again, are likely related to reduced oversight at Twitter HQ, and have prompted many to pause their Twitter ad spend entirely till they can be fixed.
Some advertisers have also reported a significant drop in ad performance, potentially due to ad serving issues.
Exposing private tweets
There have also been some reports of tweets from private accounts being made viewable to non-followers in the app.
Like injection from a protected account? Yikes. pic.twitter.com/D5fpWpvZT5— David Allen (@DataRiot) November 20, 2022
That could be a significant problem, but as various users have noted, this is a technical glitch that’s existed on Twitter for some time. It may be getting worse and more prevalent, but it’s not a new issue, as such.
But maybe the key indicator that things are not all good at the app have been the smaller glitches and issues that users are now seeing.
Former Twitter staff have said that this is likely how things will go at the app – there won’t necessarily be a big event, but smaller things will glitch and crash over time, which will eventually lead to a cascading effect of outages that will cause a bigger breakdown of the service.
Over the past few weeks, users have reported:
- Being unable to view replies
- Repeatedly seeing certain tweets at the top of the feed
- Longer load times
- Time-scrambled DMs
- Replies showing above the main post
- Video loading issues
Some of these, of course, have been consistent issues for some Twitter users over time, but there definitely have also been more reports of problems of late.
We don’t know for sure which of these may be related to Musk’s staffing revamp, and which are fixable in the short-term. But for what it’s worth, Musk himself seems confident that the app is on the right track.
Musk says that his reorganization of the company is almost complete, which will see him spending less time working on Twitter, likely from next week.
It does still seem like there are a lot to address, but maybe, this is all part of the grand Musk plan at the app.