an illustrated image that used to display when Twitter was over capacity. Over a twitter blue background a white cartoon while is being lifted by 8 orange twitter birds
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Posted in personal
July 1, 2023

Elon Musk’s Latest Fail Whale

Twitter’s taken a sharp backslide in the time since Elon Musk purchased the social media platform. Elon immediately began firing staff, trying to backpedal on Twitter policies – and lost a lot of advertisers in the process.

The latest in this series of missteps was entirely preventable, and frankly, it’s hilarious.

Twitter’s had a sharp decline as Musk declared that it’s a town square and everyone has a voice, meaning that conservative/alt-right voices could be amplified, as well as conspiracy theories. And anyone trying to fact check it was at risk. But today, July 1st, most of us woke up to find that Twitter was behaving differently.

First, Elon made it so that in order to view a profile or tweet, you needed to be logged in to Twitter. Then, he announced that he was rate limiting how many tweets you could VIEW – with the alleged reason being to limit scraping. This rang false to everyone, because it just didn’t make any sense at all. From a technical standpoint, it only made sense if he was trying to reduce server load.

Turns out he hadn’t been paying his Google Cloud bill, and that agreement terminated as of… July 1st. So Twitter was scrambling to find an alternative to support those services and needed to reduce strain.

The funniest part of all of this is that Elon’s emergency measure poses the biggest risk to what Elon’s been chasing. Revenue. Not only that, it’s was absolutely preventable.

It no longer makes sense to pay for Twitter verification (if it ever did). Elon promised that verified accounts would be amplified for greater visiblity. But if people can only see a handful of tweets, will that really happen? Elon claimed he’s brought back major brands for advertising, but why would brands want to stay? Brands dislike when only registered users can see their ads. And limiting the number of tweets people sees limits the number of ads.

Rate limiting and requiring registration means that emergency services that use Twitter to broadcast things like Amber Alerts or Tornado warnings no longer have that reach.

On one last note, the clumsy attempt at rate limiting meant that Twitter’s been DDOSing itself. They didn’t think to program anything to stop Twitter from auto-refreshing if it his the 429 (too many requests) error. So it’s just been trying to refresh constantly. Meaning it’s causing MORE of a strain.

…tell me, do we really want Elon being responsible for sending people into space?