Mass layoffs in Twitter after the purchase of the company by Ilon Musk make the platform vulnerable to hacks and crashes, experts noted Bloomberg and NYT. This is especially true as Twitter’s workload is approaching its peak, with the World Cup kicking off in Qatar on November 20.
Twitter’s mass exodus of employees after its purchase by billionaire Ilon Musk makes the platform vulnerable to hacks and crashes, Bloomberg reported, citing predictions from experts. “Twitter is teetering on the edge,” The New York Times emphasized.
Informed interlocutors told the agency that several teams that were crucial to keeping Twitter up and running have either been laid off completely or are facing a shortage of engineers. This includes the infrastructure team that runs the main channel and maintains the databases.
After Musk joined Twitter, the company laid off 50 percent of its 7,500 employees. After that, Musk gave the rest of them an ultimatum – to quit or agree to work in “hardcore” mode, demanding to make a decision by November 17. At least 1,200 other full-time employees have since left Twitter, three people close to the company told the NYT. This included the departure of several of the 20 people working at Twitter Command Center, which plays a crucial role in preventing technology disruptions during mass events. The “core services” team, which handles computing architecture, was reduced to four people out of more than 100. “80% of those who stayed [after the initial cuts at Twitter] have left,” senior software engineer Peter Close, who also quit, tweeted Thursday.
According to NYT interlocutors, Musk is considering closing one of Twitter’s three main data centers in the United States. Shutting down the Sacramento center would leave the company with two data centers in Atlanta and Portland, which would reduce the backup computing capacity needed in case something fails.
“It’s a grim picture. The amount of knowledge lost is staggering,” engineer Glenn Hope told Bloomberg. That doesn’t mean Twitter will suddenly crash, the agency points out. But Twitter is a system with more than 1,000 microservices that require constant configuration and maintenance, and if mistakes aren’t fixed in time, they will escalate into a threat to users’ security and data, a former company employee explained.
Software engineer Alec Muffet noted that Twitter’s network security will eventually begin to fail as flaws in the code base are discovered and there is no one to fix them. “Like a table that loses a leg, important parts of the site – or even the whole site – will fall down,” he noted. “The larger and more visible a platform is, the more care and support is needed to make it work and meet user expectations,” Richard Forno, deputy head of the University of Maryland’s Center for Cybersecurity, told the NYT.
This is especially important now, when Twitter is entering one of the busiest periods in terms of attendance – the FIFA World Cup starts on November 20 in Qatar.
Musk himself is confident that the service will be fine. “The best people are staying, so I’m not too worried,” he wrote on Twitter the night of Friday, Nov. 18. In the morning, however, he sent out emails to Twitter employees “who actually write the software” asking them to report to his office, the NYT notes. Thirty minutes later, the billionaire sent another email saying he wanted to learn about Twitter’s “technology stack.” And later, he asked several people to fly to Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters to meet in person.