Inside what’s left of the technical teams that keep Twitter running, there’s an unlikely new source of anxiety: the FIFA World Cup.
The soccer competition, which begins in Qatar this Sunday, is one of the most-watched media events on the globe, and like most sport events of its kind it is expected to bring with it an avalanche of Twitter usage. Every goal, yellow card and save by a goalkeeper often triggers extraordinary levels of simultaneous tweeting by fans, which even in the best of times could cause cascades of failures leading to extended downtimes for Twitter, according to current and former engineers at the company.
But now Twitter is operating with fewer than half the staff it had a month ago, raising questions about its ability to handle the likely surge next week. Musk instituted deep staff cuts two weeks ago after he took control of the company, and more have left Twitter since then. Musk’s layoffs decimated the team that oversees Twitter’s technical infrastructure, with as much as 80% of its staff cut, according to employee estimates.