Twitter Glitches Mar Launch of Ron DeSantis’s Presidential Campaign
On Wednesday evening, Ron DeSantis launched his US presidential campaign on Twitter Spaces, a live audio streaming platform that counts Elon Musk among its fans. However, the event suffered from technical glitches, including feedback, outages, and garbled audio. The platform appeared to have been overwhelmed by the number of listeners, with nearly 600,000 joining before the stream cut out and restarted. David Sacks, a Republican donor and friend of Elon Musk who moderated the audio event, said the servers hosting the event couldn’t cope with demand, leading to scalability problems.
Since taking over Twitter in October, Musk has cut costs severely, leading to warnings that the platform could become prone to outages more regularly. Expenditure at the company has fallen from $4.5bn (£3.6bn) to $1.5bn, and the company let go more than three-quarters of its 7,500 staff. Additionally, glitches have been hitting the platform regularly, including users finding themselves blocked from posting after being told they had reached their daily limit.
A former Twitter employee told CNN that Spaces was a “prototype” and a “janky” tool, built on infrastructure from Periscope and had not been integrated with Twitter properly. Also, Twitter’s former head of security Peiter “Mudge” Zatko raised concerns over the company’s data and information security failings, saying that Twitter was at risk of a data centre failure that would pose a “catastrophic and existential risk for Twitter’s survival”.
The glitches at the DeSantis launch highlight the need for Twitter to conduct a postmortem to ensure that such events go smoother in the future. The responsibility to deal with such problems will still lie with Musk, despite announcing the appointment of Linda Yaccarino as the new Twitter chief executive this month. Musk said he would retain a hands-on role as executive chair and chief technology officer.