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Twitter chaos deepens: layoffs continue, 50% chance of collapse during World Cup
"Some kind of shutdown" during the World Cup is almost certain, one Twitter employee said. Another employee noted that "it's unclear what's going to break down until things actually break down."
· U.S. officials say that if Twitter disappears, it will reshape the way the government disseminates information.
Twitter chaos has reached new heights with the unbanning of former US President Donald Trump's account.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk is considering laying off more employees as soon as November 21. Several top executives also left the company over the weekend.
With the 2022 World Cup kicking off, Twitter usage is about to explode. Supporting such a major event will present challenges for staff, with former staff citing a high chance of major breakdowns.
A bigger concern beyond dealing with impromptu large-scale events is that Twitter's recent turbulence and uncertainty have highlighted a question: How much do institutions around the world, especially in the United States, rely on Twitter to convey their messages? Are they ready for Twitter's demise?
Continued layoffs have led to frequent system problems
Sarah Rosen, who is in charge of US content partners, announced her departure from the company shortly after Twitter restored Trump's account on the evening of the 19th. Advertising sales executive Robin Wheeler and head of partnerships Maggie Suniewick were both fired on Monday after refusing to fire more staff. Yoel Roth, Twitter's head of trust and safety, also resigned last week.
At the same time, Musk is brewing new layoffs, this round of layoffs is not aimed at technical positions, but sales and partnership teams, the latter of which have been relatively unaffected by previous layoffs.
In an email last week, Musk issued an ultimatum to the remaining Twitter employees: Either stay at the company and embrace his "extremely hardcore" vision, or resign with a three-month severance package. Fewer than half of the company's remaining 4,000 employees chose to stay on the job, working for what Musk calls "Twitter 2.0," according to a Google form giving employees a choice.
There are already signs that the layoffs are putting pressure on Twitter's back-office systems. Some users noticed problems logging in with 2-step verification, some saw a stream of spam, while others complained of receiving new replies to long-deleted tweets and seeing saved drafts of tweets disappear.
On the evening of the 19th, Twitter’s automatic copyright monitoring system apparently failed. A user who went viral for uploading the entire Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift movie has been tweeting for nearly a day without being deleted. Another full-length movie, 1995's "Hacker," was uploaded by a user in a similar tweet, which was also not removed.
Experts say that if copyright monitoring systems are unavailable, humans will need to hunt down infringers manually. If not dealt with quickly, all sorts of potential legal issues will arise on Twitter.
Temporarily training employees of other departments to deal with the World Cup
The remaining staff will face major challenges to ensure Twitter runs smoothly during the World Cup.
Billions of people around the world watch the World Cup every four years. The event has weighed heavily on Twitter in the past, and this year was no exception. According to a Twitter Marketing press release from a year ago, "78.2% of Twitter users said they watch, follow or have an interest in soccer on a regular basis." Conversations about football are up 42%.
A press release from Twitter UK's marketing department said that as of March, the number of tweets about the upcoming World Cup has increased by 425% year-on-year. There will already be 41 million tweets about football in the UK in 2022 alone, a 10% increase on the previous year.
Twitter said in 2018 that it played a "significant role" in that year's World Cup fanbase and live matches, with 115 million views of tweets with the World Cup hashtag.
One Twitter employee revealed that there aren’t enough 24/7 shift workers to maintain critical services, so those responsible for critical services are frantically trying to train people in other parts of the company to help ease the workload.
A Twitter employee said "some kind of shutdown" during the World Cup was almost certain. Another employee noted that "it's unclear what's going to break down until things actually break down."
According to a former employee with knowledge of the operations of Twitter's command center, the platform's troubleshooting team that monitors traffic spikes on the site and data centers interruption etc. He said slow or incorrect service responses would almost certainly occur during the 29-day tournament in Qatar, with an estimated 90 per cent chance of error.
Compromising the way U.S. government agencies disseminate information
The Washington Post recently interviewed more than a dozen local, state and federal officials in the United States. They said that Twitter is one of the most effective ways to communicate with the public. It has saved lives and promoted civic engagement, but it has also been used to spread the word. Lying and spreading confusion. If the platforms disappear, they say, it will reshape the way the government disseminates information.
Still, officials believe in the ability to spread messages and warnings without Twitter, using tried-and-true methods like email blasts and wireless alert systems, as well as new apps like Mastodon and Zello.
A recent Pew survey found that about one in five U.S. adults uses Twitter — far less than the number of YouTube, Facebook or Instagram users. Vulnerable groups and the elderly are the least likely to use the platform, officials acknowledged. But Twitter is popular with governments, police forces and fire departments.
"It's a great way to amplify the message," said Kate Hutton of Seattle's Office of Emergency Management. Twitter doesn't reach everyone in every city, but even if you're not on Twitter, the news eventually "trickles down to what you're used to." access to information platforms".
Salt Lake City police spokesman Brent Weisberg said Twitter could be "essential" for law enforcement agencies trying to alert the public to active crime scenes, and if Twitter shut down, "the impact would be enormous."
In Santa Barbara County, local fire departments responded to two of the worst disasters in California history — a wildfire and a deadly mudslide. The agency has a range of ways to communicate with the public, but communications officer Mike Eliason said Twitter was "the main way we disseminate our information". "If Twitter goes down, we're going to have to rethink how we deliver urgent messages."
Outside of official channels, Twitter has also fostered niche communities of experts and enthusiasts, playing a vital role in keeping the public informed of looming disasters in real time.
In recent years, officials have also used Twitter to combat conspiracy theories. "We've spent a lot of money fighting disinformation during COVID," said Brian Ferguson, deputy director of crisis communications for the California Office of Emergency Services. In this battle, he said, Twitter "is a very important tool for us. , because we can reach out to super users and influencers to help us get information."
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