Twitter ‘could go down over World Cup’ expert warns, as staff leave in their droves

The FIFA World Cup starts on Sunday  (AFP via Getty Images)
The FIFA World Cup starts on Sunday (AFP via Getty Images)

Twitter could blackout during the World Cup opening weekend in Qatar an industry expert has warned, as crucial staff flee the troubled social media platform.

There are reportedly only hundreds of workers left at Twitter since its new owner Elon Musk cut half of the company’s full-time staff of 7,500 in the three weeks following his $44 billion deal.

Industry expert Matt Navarra has warned that many teams tasked with keeping the platform running have “zero staff”.

“It’s only a matter of time before Twitter suffers a serious outage - especially with the World Cup beginning this weekend,” he wrote in his Geekout newsletter on Friday.

“Musk claims the site hit record usage yesterday which, if true, would make an outage seem even more likely.”

But Mr Navarra believes any imminent blackout is unlikely.

He told Sky News: “There’s a code freeze in place and Twitter is kind of running on autopilot at the moment with its IT systems, and that a strategic move by Elon Musk to protect the stability of the platform while he figures out the next move.

“But with the World Cup coming up, that’s going to be a real test of the resilience and capacity of Twitter to maintain a platform during a busy period.

“So if there’s going to be a time when it is going to go offline, I think the greatest risk at the moment is going to be during some of the key moments of the World Cup.”

Many engineers responsible for fixing bugs and preventing service outages are reportedly among hundreds that have decided to quit the company, raising questions about the stability of the platform amid the loss of employees.

On Friday evening Platformer reported that Musk sent an email to the engineering team stating: “Anyone who can actually write software, please report to the 10th floor at 2pm today. Before doing so, please email me a bullet point summary of what your code commits have achieved in the past 6 months.”

It follows a Thursday deadline from Musk that staffers sign up for “long hours at high intensity,” or leave.

The company also notified employees that it will close its offices and cut badge access until Monday, according to two sources. Security officers began kicking some employees out of one office on Thursday evening, one source said.

In Twitter’s internal chat tool, over 500 employees wrote farewell messages on Thursday, a source told Reuters.

#RIPTwitter and #GoodbyeTwitter have been trending on the platform as users also consider leaving the site.

The Tesla and SpaceX boss has continued to tweet throughout the ongoing turmoil, often mocking concerns raised about the company by posting memes.

“ How do you make a small fortune in social media? Start out with a large one,” he joked.