Twitter’s livestream event with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis crashed and was delayed Wednesday, with hundreds of thousands of users logging in to listen to DeSantis. Announce his bid to the White House.
The audio of the livestream event – held in Twitter Space and hosted by owner Elon Musk and tech entrepreneur David Sachs – cut out within minutes of the start.
“We’ve got so many people here, we’re melting the servers,” Sacks said at one point.
More than 500,000 Twitter users joined the event, which eventually ended and then resumed, delaying DeSantis’ announcement by nearly half an hour. When the event was relaunched using a Sax account, only 250,000 users eventually listened to it.
Twitter has faced many challenges Malfunctions and technical problems Musk took the stage late last year. Shortly after acquiring the company, Musk laid off large numbers of technical and other employees and reduced Twitter’s server capacity in an effort to cut costs.
In recent months, Twitter has faced Multiple service outages This affected the ability of thousands of users to access the site, view images and read tweets on their timelines. Users have previously reported issues with the app’s two-factor authentication tool, seeing replies listed above rather than replies listed below the tweet, and old tweets showing up repeatedly in their feed or notes.
Musk and Sachs acknowledged Wednesday that the limited capacity of Twitter’s servers played into the problems it faced hosting the DeSantis event. “I think you broke the internet there,” Sachs said as the event resumed.
The pair added that Musk’s following of more than 140 million users may have also contributed to the problem. “If you multiply half a million people in a room with an account that has over 100 million followers, I think it’s down, which is Elon’s account, and I think it creates unprecedented scale,” Sachs said.
Trying to spin the launch issue in a positive direction, Sacks said: “You know you’re breaking new ground when there are bugs and scalability issues.”
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Twitter’s Spaces product wasn’t built for hosting events with hundreds of thousands of viewers. Most other spaces have several hundred simultaneous listeners. Space was described as a “prototypical” and “janky” tool by a former Twitter employee familiar with its development.
“Spaces is mostly a prototype, not a finished product,” the former employee told CNN. “This is a never-ending beta test.”
Space relies on a combination of Twitter’s technology infrastructure and Amazon Web Services servers, “things that aren’t meant to handle Twitter-sized traffic,” they added.
Twitter acquired video streaming platform Periscope in 2015. The former employee said Twitter Spaces was built on Periscope’s existing infrastructure and wasn’t properly integrated with Twitter — which may have contributed to Wednesday’s technical issues.
After the restart, the event ran for about an hour. Sachs again acknowledged the setback at the end, saying, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, and we finished strong.”
—CNN’s Kit Maher contributed to this report.