Image Source: NPR
Tens of thousands of users reported problems accessing Twitter during a brief substantial outage that occurred on Thursday morning, according to Down Detector.
The social network was completely unavailable to users worldwide on the web and mobile for about an hour, making it one of Twitter’s longest outages in years.
According to Down Detector, which analyzes internet outages, the complaints of service interruptions appeared to peak at about 8:00 a.m. ET. At about 8:30 a.m., reports started to drop precipitously. Many users appeared to have service restored by 9:00 a.m.
Uncertainty surrounds the cause of the outage. Twitter responded that it is “looking into the problem” in response to a request for comment.
The blackout was the worst and longest in years. Although older users remember the “fail whale” error message that appeared when the service was over capacity, Twitter had not experienced a multi-hour outage since 2016, when it was unavailable for two and a half hours. However, Twitter was infamous for collapsing under heavy load in its early days.
Since then, the site’s significance to politics and society around the world has increased, and a protracted outage may have had a significant impact on the Conservative party’s leadership contest, where candidates have been trading jabs since Boris Johnson announced his retirement last week.
The issue was isolated to Twitter alone, unlike other significant recent outages, and it doesn’t appear that any significant internet infrastructure was impacted. For example, the Guardian was out for almost an hour last year due to a “content distribution network” Fastly outage that affected a large portion of the internet. According to Fastly, that was caused by a single user changing their settings, which led to a cascading issue that finally forced the shutdown of 85% of the websites that depend on its infrastructure to remain online.
The company is going through a challenging time when an outage occurs. On Friday, Elon Musk attempted to abandon his $44 billion proposals to buy Twitter after weeks of having misgivings about going through with the deal. However, Twitter’s legal department sued Musk on Tuesday to compel him to proceed with the transaction.