Twitter suffers major outage, prompting emergency fix and apology

The outage marks one of the largest at Twitter under Elon Musk.

February 9, 2023, 11:51 AM

Twitter suffered a user outage on Wednesday that lasted for hours and required an emergency fix, prompting an apology from the company and marking one of the first major site malfunctions under the leadership of Elon Musk.

When attempting to post messages, many users encountered a notice telling them that they had exceeded the "daily limit for sending tweets." Other users said they could not follow new accounts, send direct messages or update their news feed.

A surge in user reports of an outage began around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, according to website tracking firm Downdetector. The reports peaked at about 5 p.m. but remained elevated into early Thursday morning, the firm found.

On Wednesday night, Twitter posted an apology on the platform: "Twitter may not be working as expected for some of you. Sorry for the trouble. We're aware and working to get this fixed."

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the outage.

Days after Musk acquired Twitter, in October, the company began layoffs that ultimately cut more than half of its 7,500-person workforce, raising concerns about Twitter's capacity to maintain its platform.

In a memo to employees in November, Musk asked workers to commit to being "extremely hardcore" or accept three months of severance upon their exiting the company. Many chose to leave.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his security detail depart the company office in Washington, Jan. 27, 2023.
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters, FILE

For his part, Musk has defended his actions at Twitter as part of an aggressive effort to rescue the company from financial peril, which he described in a Twitter Spaces interview in December as an "emergency fire drill."

"That's the reason for my actions," he added. "They may seem sometimes spurious or odd or whatever."

In response to a message in November about fear that the site would shut down without sufficient staff, Musk said: "The best people are staying, so I'm not super worried."

Musk previously said he overpaid for the platform at the purchasing price of $44 billion.

In an effort to make the company less reliant on advertising revenue, Musk launched a new version of Twitter's subscription service, Twitter Blue, which allows users to access verification if they pay a monthly fee of $8.

In a separate site malfunction, in November, Twitter Blue appeared to be unavailable on the company's Apple iOS app for some users.

A rise of fake accounts on the platform had coincided with the rollout of Twitter Blue two days earlier. The company later suspended and relaunched Twitter Blue.

The outage on Wednesday came hours after Twitter announced that subscribers to Twitter Blue would be permitted to post longer messages than other users.

"Sometimes you need more words," the company said.

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