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Why the World Cup is a danger for Twitter

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Why the World Cup is a danger for Twitter

It all started with an email. A message in which Elon Musk provided an ultimatum to Twitter employees: accept the change and work hard (extremely hardcore in English) or leave. Well, many in the bird company chose the second option.

It all happened in the Italian night. There would be hundreds of resignations, with entire departments, even with critical roles in the management of the social network, cancelled. And now many are starting to wonder: what will happen to Twitter?

The World Cup in Qatar, a difficult stress test

There is talk of possible risks of collapse for Twitter since the first layoffs, immediately after the arrival of Elon Musk in the San Francisco office. Today, however, the possibility appears more concrete, given the shock of the sudden resignations of a part of the workforce that keeps the platform going.

Furthermore, everything happens at a not exactly favorable moment: the World Cup begins on Sunday, an event that, historically, brings traffic peaks on Twitter all over the world, including live comments, photos and highlights. Even before the wave of resignations, The Information reported the concerns of social network employees ahead of the demonstration.

In fact, international events such as the one that will take place in Qatar are important stress tests for the platform even under normal conditions. Moments in which, to keep the infrastructure standing, the coordinated work of a large part of Twitter’s employees is needed.

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Twitter has fewer and fewer employees, even in key roles

Employees who, however, are less and less. Teams that previously could count on dozens of employees are now reduced to the bone with just over 5 people engaged in key roles. Particularly worrying are the systems TweetyPie, which has the task of selecting tweets suitable for the user to show them in the timeline and Gizmoduck, which retrieves profile information.

Both systems, he explains The Information, are essential to carry out fundamental functions for the functioning of Twitter, such as loading a page. In short, issues already on the agenda after the first layoffs could become an emergency on the occasion of an international event, especially in light of the latest wave of resignations.

The risk of malfunctions

Having said that, it is unlikely to imagine that, perhaps subjected to a strong moment of overload such as the World Cup in Qatar, Twitter could simply shut down. The most probable scenario is the appearance of a series of small technical problems, malfunctions that could gradually worsen and definitively compromise the browsing experience on the platform.

A few small bugs had already started appearing from the first wave of layoffs: slightly strange notifications, retweets that didn’t finish uploading. Small inconveniences, apparently. But in an article in Mit Technology Review, former Twitter engineer Ben Krueger explained how a social platform is built around the coordination of different elements. “I understand it is more fascinating to imagine a catastrophic collapse of the infrastructure, but the biggest risk is that little things gradually start to work worse and worse”.

What happens now?

We still don’t know what can be expected in the next few hours and what Elon Musk’s countermoves will be to avoid apocalyptic scenarios. According to Charlie Warzel of The Atlantic, one possibility, in case of problems, is that the owner of Twitter guarantees the functioning of the platform only for celebrities and strong users, thus “sacrificing” common profiles.

These are just hypotheses. Whatever the future holds, many analysts are advising all subscribers to be safe download tweets and data on the platform. Doing so is quite simple: just access your account settings by clicking on the more icon in the navigation bar and select Your account from the menu. From there, you can click Download your data archive. At that point, after a profile verification, the information will be sent via email as soon as it is ready.

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