Image Source: NPR
According to Down Detector, Twitter experienced a severe outage on Thursday morning for a brief period, resulting in tens of thousands of users reporting problems utilizing the social media platform.
The social network was completely unavailable to users worldwide on the web and mobile devices for about an hour, one of the longest outages Twitter has faced in recent years.
According to Down Detector, a program that tracks internet outages, the complaints of service interruptions appeared to peak at about 8:00 a.m. ET. Reports started to drop suddenly at about 8:30 a.m. Many customers seemed to have service back by 9:00 a.m.
It’s unclear what caused the outage. When contacted for comment, Twitter stated that it was “looking into the problem.”
The outage was the most serious and prolonged in years. Twitter had not experienced a multi-hour outage since 2016, when it was unavailable for two and a half hours. In its early years, Twitter was infamous for collapsing under excessive demand, with older users fondly remembering the “fail whale” error message that flashed when the site was over capacity.
Since then, the site’s significance to politics and society around the world has increased. A protracted outage may have even significantly impacted the Conservative party’s leadership contest, where candidates have been trading jabs since Boris Johnson announced his resignation last week.
The issue only affected Twitter, unlike previous significant recent outages, and it appears that no other significant internet infrastructure layer was impacted. For example, a “content distribution network” outage at Fastly knocked off a large portion of the internet, including the Guardian, for about an hour last year. One user upgrading their settings, according to Fastly, set off a cascade problem that caused 85 percent of the websites that depend on its infrastructure to remain online to go offline.
The outage occurs at a challenging time for the business. Elon Musk attempted to cancel his $44 billion purchase of Twitter on Friday after citing concerns about moving forward with the deal for weeks. Twitter’s legal department sued him on Tuesday to compel Musk to proceed with the deal.