The Guardian reported on Friday, quoting a recent Twitter employee who is familiar with how the company has responded to systemic events, that the chance of a major outage leading to the site crashing during the World Cup is about 50 percent.
The newspaper reported that the former employee, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter, has knowledge of the work of the Twitter Command Center, the platform’s team of troubleshooters that monitor the site for problems such as traffic spikes and outages in data centers.
“Between the lack of preparation and the lack of staff, I think the World Cup will be difficult for Twitter,” the former employee said.
He pointed out that an incident of some kind, such as a service responding slowly or with an error, is almost certain during the 29-day competition in Qatar, and the probability of an error that users may see is estimated at 90 percent.
According to the former employee, the prospect of Twitter staying online during the tournament, which kicks off on Sunday, is no better. He added, “Twitter is likely to experience an increase in traffic when (the tournament) starts, and it may crash. But if we are lucky, he will recover with minimal disruption.”
It is noteworthy that Twitter’s ability to respond to any problems related to information technology infrastructure has been weakened by the swing layoffs initiated by Elon Musk, CEO of the electric car manufacturer Tesla and founder of the space exploration company SpaceX, since his purchase of the platform on October 28 for 44 billion dollars.
Almost half of the company’s workforce of 7,500 were laid off in the first week. In the second week, four out of five of the company’s 5,500 contractors were dealt with. This week, nearly 1,000 employees quit after Musk ordered them to choose between working long hours or quitting.
Many of those who quit were Twitter’s most experienced employees, some of whom had worked for nearly 9 years. It is believed, according to The Observer, that a third of the Twitter Command Center staff have left the company in recent weeks.
And now, the company appears unprepared to handle the potential influx of traffic to the platform as people seek to discuss key moments during the World Cup.
“The traffic gets really heavy during big events, so a big match or controversial call-up would cause a very sudden surge in traffic and the infrastructure would have to absorb the impact,” the former employee said.
As for Musk, he tweeted on Friday night about the World Cup, saying: “The first game of the World Cup kicks off on Sunday! Watch on Twitter for the best real-time coverage and commentary.