Why Twitter Won’t Crash And Die Despite Losing 70% Of Staff: Former GitHub CTO
Jason Warner, the former chief technology officer at GitHub, stated that core Twitter services will be functionally and operational despite Twitter’s recent layoffs of more than 50% of its workers and nearly all of its contractors.
Twitter is a social network that has a unique nature.
“Twitter — the service — can suffer lots and lots and lots of issues and it will still be a useful/amusing service for many,” he tweeted in a long threadMore information on this topic. “It is not the same as a mission critical product.”
For close to 100 million developers, mission-critical products like Microsoft’s GitHub are an integral part of their workflow. Warner says that other critical infrastructures such as Twilio, Stripe, or Cloudflare are part of the essential internet infrastructure. There is immediate chaos and disruption as a result of outages.
Twitter, on the other hand — while important and used by hundreds of millions of people — is much more fault-tolerant.
“Twitter is used by hundreds of millions around the world mostly for casual distraction during the day,” Warner says. “Sure, some people use it for work etc, but that’s not the main use case … the very nature of the Twitter product allows Twitter the service so much uptime/latency/architectural leeway that no, the faults we’ve been seeing and likely to see for a while will not cause it to fail.”
There’s been significant concern on Twitter itself that the platform, deprived of thousands of talented engineers and staff members, could crash or fail. It’s one of the reasons the smaller, distributed social network Mastodon has seen massive growth, and why #RIPTwitter was trending.
Warner believes that Twitter will not crash or die soon because of technical problems. In fact, it had numerous and frequent technical issues earlier in its growth stages — the notorious fail whale era — and survived.
That doesn’t mean, Warner says, that all is perfectly fine. He says that even casual users have experienced small problems in recent weeks. A quick check of the Twitter API showed him potential for more serious errors. (I have personally noticed minor issues such as pages or tweets not loading — usually fixed with a refresh on the web or a restart on the app — in the past week or so.)
However, a missed tweet or minor delay due to engineers working in smaller teams and on different projects isn’t the end of it.
However, there are greater risks such as the three-day-old Twitter ban on full-length films. It is no laughing matter to have copyright laws and bring suit based upon copyright infringement. A lack of oversight can also lead to risks. I’ve personally seen more porn being shared on Twitter with trending hashtags in recent weeks, including three cases today just while searching for things like “Twitter will fail” or “RIPTwitter for this post:
Warner says that it brings on new dangers.
“It’s everything around the service that make up the company where the risk is. These are very, very, very likely bespoke tools with years of learnings baked into the logic/workflows that require the systems to interact a certain way … when all those things fail lots of odd — potentially bad or maybe even illegal — things can happen. It’s also when hackers/nation states etc can have the most opportunity.”
On the tech side, however, Warner says while there will be some challenges and some suffering, there’s not likely to be the kind of massive Twitter fail that has the service down for days or weeks at a time.