October 3, 2023

Twitter and Musk did not respond to requests for comment.

In an email sent Monday to employees seen by The New York Times, Mr. Musk said the weekend layoffs were “a difficult organizational overhaul focused on improving execution going forward.” He said he was still working at the company. Those who will receive “very significant stock and other compensation awards” on March 24.

In the late 2000s and early 2010s, Twitter became known for frequent glitches and a “failed whale,” an image of a whale being airlifted by a flock of birds when the site was not functioning. Over the years, the company has added hundreds of people to its infrastructure team and improved server technology to reduce disruptions, according to three current and former engineers.

The layoffs began after Mr. Musk took over the company — followed by more substantive changes to back-end technology. On Dec. 24, Twitter shut down a Sacramento data center that had helped handle most of the service’s web traffic. That leaves Twitter with just two other facilities, in Atlanta and Portland, Oregon.

Four days later, Twitter experienced a widespread outage, with some users logging out of the service or unable to view replies to their tweets.

Employee errors lead to other outages. In early February, a Twitter worker deleted data from an internal service designed to prevent spam, causing a glitch that prevented many people from tweeting or messaging each other, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Twitter’s engineers spent hours diagnosing the problem and restoring data stored using backups. During that time, users received error messages saying they could not tweet because they had already posted too much. The cause of the issue was reported earlier in the Platformer newsletter.

Another temporary outage came a week later when an engineer was testing changes to people’s Twitter profiles on Apple mobile devices. Ignoring the past practice of testing new features on a small group of users, the engineer simply rolled out the change — a tweak to Spaces, Twitter’s real-time audio service — to a broad audience, two people familiar with the matter said.

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