Science and Tech

Twitter Glitch Overshadows DeSantis Presidential Campaign Ad

New York () — The live broadcast of the Twitter event with Ron DeSantis crashed and was delayed Wednesday as hundreds of thousands of users tuned in to hear the Florida governor announce his candidacy for the White House.

Sound from the livestreamed event — which was held on Twitter Spaces and hosted by platform owner Elon Musk and tech entrepreneur David Sacks — cut out within minutes of starting.

“There are so many people here that our servers are dying,” Sacks said at one point.

More than 500,000 Twitter users joined the event, which eventually ended and restarted, delaying DeSantis’s announcement by nearly half an hour.

Twitter has faced various interruptions and technical problems since Musk took over the platform late last year. Shortly after acquiring the company, Musk laid off a large number of technicians and other staff and reduced the capacity of Twitter’s servers in an effort to cut costs.

In recent months, Twitter has faced multiple service outages that affect the ability of thousands of users to access the site, view images and read tweets on their timeline. Users have also previously reported issues with the app’s two-factor authentication tool, replies appearing above a tweet instead of below it, and old tweets appearing repeatedly in their feed or in their mentions.

Musk and David Sacks admitted Wednesday that the limited capacity of Twitter’s servers played a role in the problems getting DeSantis’ event started: “I think they broke the internet,” Sacks said when the event was relaunched.

The Twitter Spaces product was not necessarily built to host events with hundreds of thousands of listeners. Most spaces have, at most, several hundred listeners at a time.

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Twitter Spaces is ‘shoddy’, says former Twitter employee

Twitter Spaces, the company’s streaming audio tool that DeSantis attempted to use Wednesday night to launch his presidential campaign, was described as a “prototype” and “shoddy” tool by a former Twitter employee familiar with his development.

“Spaces was very much a prototype, not a finished product. It used the old Periscope infrastructure and couldn’t scale as efficiently as the services hosted within Twitter itself. It’s a beta test that never ended,” the former employee told . . “So it’s all a cobbled together mess of part Twitter stuff and part AWS stuff. [Amazon Web Services] They’re not meant to handle traffic on a Twitter scale.”

Twitter acquired video streaming platform Periscope in 2015. The former employee said Twitter Spaces had been built on top of Periscope’s existing infrastructure and had not integrated with Twitter properly, which likely contributed to Wednesday’s technical issues.

Failures delay the launch of DeSantis’ Twitter campaign

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ Twitter Spaces chat with Elon Musk got off to a rocky start, with technical issues delaying the launch of his campaign.

Moderator and tech mogul David Sacks apologized for some technical issues, which he blamed for the heavy traffic. At around 6:11 p.m., they tried to restore the activity, but they were still having problems and chatter between Musk and another person could be heard.

“It’s going to keep collapsing, huh?” the individual said.

“The servers are a little overworked,” Musk told nearly 400,000 people listening.

President Joe Biden’s campaign account winked at the failures of Ron DeSantis’ Twitter Spaces launch, by tweet a link to Biden’s own campaign fundraising page, with the message: “This link works.”

Arlette Saenz contributed to this report.

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