Dire Warning: Twitter Engineer Warns that Elon Musk’s Site Will Break in The Coming Weeks

Elon Musk (Win McNamee/Getty Images; BNN)
Win McNamee/Getty Images; BNN

Current Twitter insiders say that the recent staffing cuts have left remaining employees unable to sustain the platform and explains how they believe the platform will break in the coming weeks. One engineer commented, “If we’re going to be pushing at a breakneck pace, then things will break. There’s no way around that.”

The MIT Technology Review reports that shortly after Elon Musk fired half of Twitter’s 7500 employees, some users began to notice issues with retweets on the platform. Many that pressed the retweet button were not seeing the common “quote tweet” function but rather the original “manual retweet” introduced in 2009.

A quote tweet allows a user to create their own tweet that displays an embed of the original tweet below their message. A manual retweet creates a new tweet with the letters “RT” followed by the username of the account they’re retweeting and the text of the tweet.

For instance, if a user were to retweet this tweet from Breitbart News, instead of showing an embed of Breitbart’s tweet, they would automatically post a new tweet which reads “RT @BreitbartNews: Trump Teases “Very Big Announcement” One Week After Midterm Elections.”

It appears that this sudden change was not part of a new update by Musk but rather an error in Twitter’s codebase. The MIT Technology Review writes:

Whether it’s manual RTs appearing for a moment before retweets slowly morph into their standard form, ghostly follower counts that race ahead of the number of people actually following you, or replies that simply refuse to load, small bugs are appearing at Twitter’s periphery. Even Twitter’s rules, which Musk linked to on November 7, went offline temporarily under the load of millions of eyeballs. In short, it’s becoming unreliable.

One engineer currently working at Twitter who is worried about the platform following the layoff of half of the company’s employees commented: “Sometimes you’ll get notifications that are a little off… It’s small things, at the moment, but they do really add up as far as the perception of stability.”

The engineer believes that these issues will continue and multiply as time goes on, partly due to the remaining staff tasked with fixing these issues burning out over time. “Round-the-clock is detrimental to quality, and we’re already kind of seeing this,” he said.

While remaining staff members have been tasked with keeping the site stable, over time many will be instructed to begin implementing new features demanded by Musk, leading to more overall platform instability, the engineer said.

“If we’re going to be pushing at a breakneck pace, then things will break,” he said. “There’s no way around that. We’re accumulating technical debt much faster than before—almost as fast as we’re accumulating financial debt.”

“Things will be broken. Things will be broken more often. Things will be broken for longer periods of time. Things will be broken in more severe ways,” he added. “Everything will compound until, eventually, it’s not usable.”

The engineer said that this will take some time, but that the telltale signs of larger platform instability are already visible. The engineer says that the degradation will start with small things:  “Bugs in whatever part of whatever client they’re using; whatever service in the back end they’re trying to use. They’ll be small annoyances to start, but as the back-end fixes are being delayed, things will accumulate until people will eventually just give up.”

Read more at the MIT Technology Review here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan


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